CPM puts its best foot forward, 4 MLAs take up the poll challenge

CPM puts its best foot forward, 4 MLAs take up the poll challenge
From top left - P Jayarajan (Vadakara), Innocent (Chalakudy), K N Balagopal (Kollam), M B Rajesh (Palakkad), (second row)A Sampath (Attingal), P V Anwar (Ponnani), A M Arif (Alappuzha), P K Biju (Alathur),(third row) P K Sreemathy (Kannur), Joyce George (Idukki), P Rajeev (Ernakulam),A Pradeep Kumar (Kozhikode), (fourth row) V N Vasavan (Kottayam), K P Satheesh Chandran (Kasaragod), Veena George (Pathanamthitta) and V P Sanu (Malappuram)

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM has decided to field four MLAs and two district secretaries for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Considering the severe odds it is faced with, the party has chosen the strongest possible candidates, including two women, in the 16 seats it would be contesting in Kerala this summer.

A Pradeep Kumar, P V Anwar, M A Arif and Veena George are the four CPM legislators chosen to contest the Lok Sabha elections. They would be in the fray from Kozhikode, Ponnani, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta constituencies respectively.

As pre-poll surveys have hinted at a decline in CPM vote share, the party has desperately fielded even a controversial figure like P Jayarajan citing his acceptance among its rank and file. CPM Kannur district secretary Jayarajan would be filing its nomination from the Vadakara seat once the elections are announced. Jayarajan’s candidacy was a planned move in Vadakara constituency, of which late RMP leader TP Chandrasekhar’s Onchiam is a part. He was considered even though the party had thought of removing him from the responsibilities of state secretary owing to the charges against him in the Shukoor murder case.

Even PV Anwar, embroiled in a controversy, was given a 'promotion' option – an MP from MLA. Though A Pradeep Kumar had personal reasons not to contest against incumbent Congress MP, MK Raghavan, he was chosen for Kozhikode.

If the party's tactics of fielding Independents backed by it was successful last time, for this year's general election it has reposed faith in veterans and popular leaders, including sitting MLAs. The party has rarely fielded sitting MLAs in Lok Sabha polls, at least, in recent times.

Ironically, the LDF had mocked the Congress earlier for fielding sitting MLAs before. This time the political front of left parties and a few others will field six MLAs to resist the challenge posed by Congress and BJP.

CPM ally CPI has already announced the name of its four candidates for the rest of the Lok Sabha seats in Kerala and they include two MLAs.  C Divakaran and Chittayam Gopakumar are the sitting legislators CPI would be deploying.

The CPM had earlier mulled changing sitting MPs, but the plan was dropped subsequently. Only the Kasaragod MP, P Karunakaran, backed down as expected. Though central committee member K Radhakrishnan was considered, incumbent MP PK Biju finally gets another chance in Alathur seat.

Veena George was chosen as the second woman candidate as Raju Abraham, MLA, conveyed his inability to contest from the crucial Pathanamthitta constituency. Initially, newcomer Dr Sindhumol Jacob’s name had popped up for the Kottayam seat when the search for two women candidates began. The tentative candidate for Kottayam, Sindhumol, finally made way for district secretary VN Vasavan who too was reluctant to enter the fray.

Sitting Kannur MP PK Sreemathy is the other woman candidate picked by the CPM.

The long history of independent candidates in Ernakulam ended with state secretariat member P Rajeev’s entry.

CPM candidates

KP Satheesh Chandran – Kasaragod

* LDF district convener

* Two-time CPM district secretary

* Two-time MLA from Thrikkarippur

* Founder chairman of Neeleswaram Tejaswini Cooperative Hospital

* Former executive committee member and state vice-president of SFI and DYFI

PK Sreemathy – Kannur

* Sitting MP

* Health minister in the last LDF government

* Two-time MLA from Payyanur (2001, 06)

* First president of Kannur district panchayat

* CPM national committee member, national treasurer of Democratic Women’s Association.

P Jayarajan – Vadakara

* CPM Kannur district secretary

* Three-time MLA from Koothuparamba (2001, 2006. Won again in 2005 after Supreme Court annulled 2001 win)

* Former district secretary of SFI

* Former general manager of ‘Desabhimani’ and IRPC advisory council chairman.

A Pradeep Kumar – Kozhikode

* CPM state committee member

* MLA from Kozhikode-I constituency (2006-11)

* MLA from Kozhikode North (2011-2016)

* Former state president, secretary, national vice-president of SFI

* Former state secretary of DYFI

* Former chairman of Calicut University Union

V P Sanu – Malappuram

* SFI national president

* First time in LS fray

* Former SFI district president and secretary, state president in 2015

* Former Union chairman of MES College, Valancheri

* Son of CPM district secretariat member VP Zakaria

P V Anwar – Ponnani

* Nilambur MLA, won 2016 poll as an Independent backed by CPM

* Former district vice president of Youth Congress

* Independent candidate from Eranad in 2011 Assembly election.

* Lost 2014 Lok Sabha election from Wayanad as an Independent candidate

M B Rajesh – Palakkad

* Sitting MP

* Two-time MP from Palakkad

* SFI state secretary, DYFI state and national president, CPM state committee member.

P K Biju – Alathur

* Sitting MP

* Two-time MP from Alathur

* Former state and national president of SFI

* CPM state committee member

Innocent – Chalakudy

* Actor and sitting MP

* Born in a Communist family

* Former district secretary of RSP, ex-member of Irinjalakuda municipality

* President of actor’s organisation AMMA for 12 years until last year.

P Rajeev – Ernakulam

* CPM state secretariat member and chief editor of 'Deshabhimani'

* Former member of Rajya Sabha, once spoke at the UN General Assembly representing India

* CPM district secretary, Ernakulam

* First Lok Sabha contest

* Assembly contestant from Vadakkekara.

M A Arif – Alappuzha

* Three-time Aroor MLA since 2006

* CPM state committee member and state president of Non-Banking Finance and Private Bank Employees Association

* Former state committee member of DYFI

* Won the Alappuzha district council election from Arookutti division in 1991.

V N Vasavan – Kottayam

* CPM district secretary

* Entered politics through SFI

* DYFI state committee member

* Contested Assembly polls from Kottayam and Puthuppally twice

* Won from Kottayam Assembly constituency in 2006.

Joyce George – Idukki

* Sitting MP who contested as an Independent backed by CPM

* Second Lok Sabha contest

* Thodupuzha Newman College Union chairman as KSU candidate in 1991

* High Court lawyer

K N Balagopal – Kollam

* Rajya Sabha member 2010-16

* CPM state secretariat member and former district secretary

* Former national president of SFI and DYFI.

Veena George – Pathanamthitta

* Aranmula sitting MLA

* Former teacher (2 years) at Pathanamthitta Catholicate College

* Former journalist with several media houses

* Winner in her first assembly election.

A Sampath – Attingal

* Sitting MP

* Three wins, including two consecutive ones, from Attingal

* CPM district committee member and son of former CPM leader and MP, K Anirudhan

* Lawyer

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