They call PC Vishnunath the powerhouse of Congress in Kerala. But the vice-president of the state unit seemed powerless when choosing his constituency. He became a kind of political football, tossed around from one constituency to another.
At first, he was designated to run from Kollam, but Congress had to backtrack in the face of stiff opposition from party officials in the district. Congress relented and gave the seat to Bindhu Krishna.
Vishnunath was instead given Vattiyoorkavu, which has elected K. Muralidharan twice. But that decision too evoked protests. Finally, he had to be satisfied with the Kundara seat.
At 43, Vishnunath is one of the younger Congress leaders, having come up through the ranks, and was active in college politics through the Kerala Students Union, the student wing of the Congress. He has had success early on, winning from Chengannur in 2006, and retaining the Assembly seat in 2011.
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A loss in 2016 relegated Vishnunath’s role to party affairs — ostensibly to strengthen the Indian National Congress. As secretary, he was in charge of Karnataka in 2017, and three years later, he was asked to focus on his home state as vice-president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee.
For the Assembly elections, Vishnunath has his task cut out. There are 10 candidates vying in Kundara, none more formidable than Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma. The LDF candidate had won in 2016, beating Congress’ Rajmohan Unnithan with 51.81 per cent of the votes.
Will Vishnunath avenge that defeat?