Left Front’s presumptive candidate list is a good mix of sitting MPs, MLAs and organisational heavyweights
Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has stolen a march over its rivals by formulating a presumptive candidate list for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Likely to be announced on Saturday, the list will have names of 16 CPI(M) and 4 CPI candidates for the 20 parliamentary seats as part of the traditional arrangement between the two Left parties. Its allies in the state, such as the JD(S) and the LJD, have not been given any seat.
The presumptive list of LDF candidates, ratified by the state committee, will be sent to the central committee and the Politburo for a formal nod. No changes are likely to be made by the central leadership.
With a minimal share of seats in Tripura and West Bengal having fallen out of the party’s favour, Kerala remains the only state from where the Left expects a considerable number of MPs in the Lok Sabha. With that in mind, the CPI and the CPI(M) have taken utmost care to pick popular and winnable candidates even in seats where it doesn’t enjoy wide support.
The CPI(M) is expected to field all, except one, of its seven sitting MPs in the fray while nominating three of its present MLAs to contest for Lok Sabha. The CPI, on the other hand, has replaced it’s sole sitting MP and decided to put forward names of two sitting MLAs for the four seats it traditionally contests.
P Jayarajan, CPM Kannur district secretary and an accused in the murder of a Muslim League worker, is likely to be fielded for the first time from Vadakara seat, that currently rests with the Congress. Jayarajan, a controversial figure in the state politics but considered close to CM Pinarayi Vijayan, has been nominated to wrest back the seat which has a predominant Left voter base.
Another surprise name on the list is that of Veena George, a journalist-turned-MLA, who will be fielded from Pathanamthitta, the epicentre of the Sabarimala agitation. By fielding a woman, the CPM hopes to dial down the anger that may hit the party.
While P Karunakaran has been dropped from Kasaragod seat, the party has once again given the nod to Innocent, the sitting MP from Chalakudy, who had announced publicly in a newspaper column that he would not like to fight. By nominating PK Sreemathi again in the stronghold Kannur seat, the CPM will have two women in its list of 16 candidates. Apart from George, the CPM is likely to have two other MLAs in the Kozhikode and Alappuzha seats.
The CPI candidate list, on the other hand, will once again have no woman as expected. The party dropped CN Jayadevan in Thrissur and has nominated Rajaji Mathew Thomas, a member of the state executive committee. For the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram seat, where the party ended in the third spot after the Congress and the BJP, it will throw the name of Nedumanad MLA C Divakaran. For Wayanad and Mavelikkara seats, it has decided to field PP Suneer and Chittayam Gopakumar MLA.