Thiruvananthapuram: Failing to get support from the UDF, jailed Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai today gave up his plan to enter the fray for the April 13 assembly polls. Pillai, a former minister serving one-year imprisonment in a graft case, dropped the move after Congress leader Oommen Chandy and UDF Convener P P Thankachan met him at the central prison here.
After the meeting, Chandy said Pillai on his own had decided not to contest the polls. His party nominee N N Murali would be the UDF candidate for the Kottarakkara seat in Kollam, from where Pillai had been elected as many as eight times. Pillai’s son K B Ganesh Kumar, a sitting MLA and cine actor, said his father himself took the initative for meeting the UDF leaders to discuss the pros-and-cons of his move to contest the polls. KC (B)’s announcement yesterday regarding Pillai’s candidature had put the Congress-led coalition in a fix as the LDF had immediately seized the opportunity to attack the UDF.
Pillai was lodged in the prison a month back after the Supreme Court reversed a Kerala High Court verdict acquitting him and sentenced him to one year jail term in a corruption case relating to awarding of contract for construction of tunnel and surge shaft of Edamalayalar hydropower project in 1980s, when he was the power minister.
Pillai was elected to the Kerala Assembly as many as eight times but was defeated last time by Aysha Potti of the CPI-M. He was also elected to the Lok Sabha in 1971 but returned to the state politics as a minister in the C Achutha Menon Government in 1975. Potti has been re-nominted by her party in the segment.