Elections 2019 | CPI leaders want Kanam to take on Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram

CPI leaders want Kanam to take on Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram
Shashi Tharoor and Kanam Rajendran

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI leaders in Thiruvananthapuram want party's state chief Kanam Rajendran to take on Shashi Tharoor MP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Though the district committee of the party has conveyed the request to the state secretary, he is yet to respond.

Kanam, busy with the Kerala Samrakshana Yatra organised by the Left Democratic Front, is thought to be the CPI's best bet in Thiruvananthapuram, where the party finished third in 2014. Kanam is leading the northern leg of the road show, which will meet up with the southern leg led by CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in Thrissur on March 2.

Former MP Panniyan Raveendran was another choice for the Thiruvananthapuram seat but he remains non-committal. A section of party leaders, however, argue that Kanam is a better candidate than Panniyan. His candidate could energise the cadre, they claim.

Even the CPM is likely to support Kanam's candidature. The ruling front will initiate the process to pick candidates for the general election only after March 2.

Kanam's well-wishers, however, are worried that his move to parliamentary arena would lead to a shakeup within the party. Kanam could easily expect a third term as the party's state secretary given his universal acceptability.

CPI district secretary G R Anil told Onmanorama that the candidate selection talks have not officially begun. The CPI contested Mavelikkara, Thrissur and Wayanad apart from Thiruvananthapuram in 2014. The state leadership has asked the respective district committees to shortlist suitable candidates.

The state executive will discuss the topic on March 3 followed by the state council on March 4.

The CPI has won Thiruvananthapuram whenever it fielded strong candidates. M N Govindan Nair won the seat for 69,822 votes in 1977. In 1996, K V Surendranath wrested the seat from Congress' A Charles for 20,802 votes. P K Vasudevan Nair won the seat by 54,603 votes in 2004. His demise in office necessitated a byelection, in which Panniyan Raveendran retained the seat with a lead of 74,200 votes.

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