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Ruling LDF in Kerala to field 6 sitting MPs, MLAs in Lok Sabha polls

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Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 09: The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala will field six sitting MPs and an equal number of MLAs in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. PTI file photo

While the CPI(M)--the largest partner in the Left Front-- will field 16 candidates, including six Members of Parliament (MPs) and four Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), the CPI, the second major ally, will contest four seats and two will be sitting MLAs.

Two women and two CPI(M)-backed independents are also among the candidates announced by the ruling coalition. With sharing of all the seats by the CPI(M) and CPI, other coalition partners of the 10-member-strong LDF have been left with no seat.

Announcing his party's candidates list, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Saturday said the coming Lok Sabha polls were crucial and inevitable to enhance the strength of the Left front in Parliament. The sitting MLAs were chosen considering the winnability, he told reporters at the party headquarters, AKG Centre here.

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"It is not for the first time that sitting MLAs are contesting. In 2009, four MLAs of the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) had contested. It had happened on several other occasions also," he said.

The six sitting MPs of CPI(M) who will contest in the Lok Sabha polls are Innocent (Chalakkudy constituency), Joice George (Idukki), M B Rajesh (Palakkad), P K Biju (Alathur), A Sampath (Attingal) and P K Sreemathi (Kannur).

A M Arif (Alappuzha), Veena George (Pathanamthitta), A Pradeep Kumar (Kozhikode) and P V Anwar (Ponnani) are among the sitting MLAs who figure in the CPI(M) candidate list. Of these, George and Anwar are CPI(M)-backed independents.

The Communist Party of India (CPI), which had already announced the candidates, plans to field sitting MLAs C Divakaran and Chittayam Gopakumar in Thiruvananthapuram and Mavelikkara constituencies, respectively.

The CPI would field P P Suneer at Wayanad and Rajaji Mathew Thomas in the Thrissur constituency. During the 2014 Lok Sabaha polls, the Congress-led UDF had won 12 seats and CPI(M)-led LDF eight, while the BJP had failed to open its account in the state dominated by the bipolar polity.

The Sabarimala women entry row and the alleged slow pace of flood rehabilitation initiatives will be among the key issues the ruling LDF would face during the elections.

However, the Left front is banking on the three-year old Pinarayi Vijayan government's achievements on the development front, health and education sector and the stand it had taken in terms of protecting progressive values.

The opposition UDF and BJP are yet to officially announce their candidates list.

PTI

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