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Kerala CPI(M) Announces Candidates for Lok Sabha Elections, Heavyweights Part of List

The list, announced by party state chief Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Saturday, features mostly local leaders.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | News18

Updated:March 9, 2019, 4:33 PM IST
Kerala CPI(M) Announces Candidates for Lok Sabha Elections, Heavyweights Part of List
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File photo)

Thiruvananthapuram: Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), on Saturday became the first of the three major parties in Kerala to announce their poll candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The party’s list of 16 candidates has only one new face and two women, which points at its determination to win the poll battle. The list includes six sitting MPs, four sitting MLAs, two former MPs and three former MLAs.

CPI(M) leader and Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said seats were allocated in the larger interest of the alliance. Two from the list, as announced by state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Saturday, will be independents, while actor Innocent -- the sitting MP from Chalakudy against whom there was a protest from a section in the party -- will contest on party symbol. In 2014, he was elected as an independent.

The list also has two women -- PK Sreemathi, sitting MP from Kannur, and Veena George from Pathanamthitta, a sitting MLA from Aranamula. "We have given two winning seats to women," said Kodiyeri Balakrishnan when asked why the LDF seats which comprise of CPM and CPI, have only two women despite the campaign for women empowerment and gender equality following the SC verdict allowing women into Sabarimala hill shrine. The state has 20 seats in total.

Among the sitting MPs from the state, all except P Karunakaran will fight the election. KP Satheesh Chandran, who served twice as an MLA and secretory of Kasargod District Committee, will replace Karunakaran in Kasargod, the northern tip of Kerala.

PK Biju and MB Rajesh will seek their third term in Lok Sabha from Alathur and Palakkad seats respectively and A Sampath will fight his fourth election from Attingal. Joys George, a CPI(M)-backed independent MP, will try his luck once more from Idukki.

The only new face, SFI president VP Sanu, is the only one under the age of 40. He is the CPI-M candidate from the Muslim League forte Malappuram. Kottayam district secretary VN Vasavan, who is also a former MLA, will fight his first election in Lok Sabha.

Apart from Veena George, Aroor MLA A.M. Arif, Kozhikode MLA A Pradeep Kumar and PV Anvar, controversial MLA from Nilambur, will be candidates in Alappuzha, Kozhikkod and Ponnani respectively.

This is the first time that CPI-M and the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) are fighting a Lok Sabha election with nearly one-third sitting MLAs. The number of MLAs in the LDF list is six as CPI also has two.

By fielding P Jayarajan, the controversial heavyweight leader and former MLA from Kannur, CPI-M is all set to regain the Vadakara constituency, a party stronghold. Jayarajan is a popular leader from Kannur who is currently under investigation for a political murder by the CBI.

Two former Rajya Sabha members -- KN Balagopal and P Rajeev – have been entrusted with the herculean task of regaining Kollam and Ernakulam constituencies respectively.

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