Senior Congress leader KC Venugopal today announced that he will be sitting out the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to free himself for "key party-related responsibilities" in New Delhi, news agency PTI reported.
"I have decided against contesting the elections, and my decision has been conveyed to the party leadership," the news agency quoted Mr Venugopal as saying."It is my responsibility to do my duty for the party. It wouldn't be fair on my part to contest the polls in Alappuzha while sitting in Delhi."
According to PTI, the Congress leader said that the party's interests eclipse his personal ambitions. "In this context, I am facing practical difficulties in fighting the elections from Alappuzha," he said. "And that's why I have decided against contesting."
Mr Venugopal, the Congress general secretary in charge of organisation, is believed to be a key aide of party president Rahul Gandhi. As the Congress in-charge of Karnataka, he helped the ruling alliance in the state through several tight spots over the last few months. The sitting parliamentarian from Alappuzha was also instrumental in ironing out differences between party factions in Rajasthan and finalising the party's alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu recently.
The Congress leader secured 462,525 votes to win the Alappuzha seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, beating his closest competitor -- CB Chandrababu of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) -- by nearly 20,000. He was elevated to the post of the All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of organisation this January.
The parliamentary elections in Kerala will be held in a single phase on April 23.
(With inputs from PTI)