The CPM has finalised candidates for 15 of the 16 seats it is to contest from Kerala in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The surprise in the list is actor Innocent being given a second chance from Chalakudy which he won in 2014, surprising even party insiders. The decision to field comes despite protest from within the local committees. A decision on the candidate for the League stronghold Ponnani is expected to be taken tomorrow.
The CPM appears to have given its championing gender equality for which it built a Women Wall and even ensured two young women worshipped at the Sabarimala shrine a big go-by. Just two women have found a place in the list. One is the sitting MP from Kannur, PK Sreemathy, and the other is Veena George, the MLA from Aranmula, who is to contest from Pathanamthitta which includes Sabarimala. But these two have already tasted electoral success.
Another surprise has been fielding two other MLAs - Pradeep Kumar to contest from Kozhikode and AM Arif from Alappuzha. However, the proposal to field the controversial MLA from Nilambur, PV Anwar, from Ponnani has not been accepted by the party state leadership. There is likelihood of Niyas Pulikkalakath getting the nod from there.
Besides Innocent and Sreemathy, other sitting MPs to get another chance are MB Rajesh (Palakkad), PK Biju (Alathur), A Sampath (Attingal) and Joice George (Idukki).
Two party secretariat members are to be in the fray - P Rajeev (Ernakulam) and KN Balagopal (Kollam).
The of Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan for the Badagara seat has surprised many in the party too as there are a number of cases against him.
KP Satheesh Chandran will contest from Kasaragod and party district secretary VN Vasavan from Kottayam
SFI national president VP Sanu is to be the candidate from the other League stronghold Malappuram.
The decision of CPM to contest 16 seats and leave the remaining four to the CPI is signal to other LDF constituents that they needs not expect any seat as the CPM, which expects little chance for tasting success elsewhere, hopes to get a few seats only from Kerala.