Kerala CPI-M releases first list of candidates for Assembly election

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI-M on Wednesday released its first list of 83 candidates for the April 6 Assembly polls.

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The list includes Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who will contest from Dharmadam in Kannur district. His son-in-law Mohammed Riyaz has also been given a party ticket.

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Many others who are known as close aides of Vijayan – P.Rajeev, K.N. Balagopal, V.N. Vasavan and M.B. Rajesh – have also been given tickets to contest. All four had lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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Among others who got tickets are ministers K.K Shailaja from Mattannur and K.T. Jaleel from Thavanoor.

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With the first list out, it is the ruling CPI-M in Kerala that has got off the blocks to the upcoming Assembly polls. A look at the list of candidates released on Wednesday shows that Vijayan appears to have had the final call.

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In the 140-member Kerala Assembly, the CPI-M, which leads the Left Democratic Front, time will contest 85 seats. Its party secretary A. Vijayaraghavan released the list of 83 names, with two more to be announced later.

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Of the 85 seats, 74 will contest under the party symbol, while nine are Left supported independents. The list includes four candidates who are below age 30 and there are 12 women candidates.

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“33 sitting legislators, including five present Cabinet ministers, have not been renominated this time. Parliamentary and non-parliamentary duties are both equally important and hence those who are not nominated will be engaged in organisational work. The yardstick that was applied was all those who had two terms should stand out, as it was meant to bring in new faces. Then the list has been vetted, discussed and debated at our various party levels, which is an excellent democratic process,” said Vijayaraghavan.

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The educational qualifications of the 83 candidates include 42 graduates, 14 postgraduates, two medical doctors, two PhD holders and one architect, besides 28 who have a degree in law.

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Notable inclusions this time are former State Minister and Speaker K. Radhakrishnan and Central committee member M.V. Govindan, who is returning to parliamentary politics after a gap of 15 years.

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Another surprise in the list is the wife of Vijayaraghavan, R. Bindhu, a professor by profession and a former Mayor of Thrissur Corporation.

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The most shocking omission, which came as the biggest surprise last week, was economist turned Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, who will not be contesting this time.

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On account of his failing health, 97-year-old V.S. Achuthanandan for the first time after 1996, is also not contesting.

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