The party will finalise and announce its candidates list only after further discussions

Springing more surprises on the electorate and, more importantly, the Congress leadership in Kerala, the CPI(M) State leadership on Thursday moved close to picking two Congress leaders as its possible candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The bigger of the surprises was the party State committee’s decision to field senior Congress leader Peelipose Thomas in Pathanamthitta. Mr. Thomas was Pathanamthitta District Congress Committee (DCC) president for 15 years and a member of the State Planning Board during the tenure of the last United Democratic Front (UDF) government.

Although he was a member of the A.K. Antony faction in the State Congress long ago, along with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, he had moved away from this political grouping over the past year.

Independent stance

In the past few months, he had been taking an independent stand on various issues, particularly the controversial Aranmula airport project, quite at variance with the position taken by both Mr. Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.

The second Congress leader being considered by the CPI(M) leadership is V. Abdurahiman, former vice-chairman of the Ponnani municipality, for the Ponnani seat.

He is being considered along with other names and a final decision would be taken only after further consultations. The party has not taken any decision on the Idukki seat, possibly on account of the continuing confusion in the UDF about the course of action that the Kerala Congress (Mani) or sections within it will take in the days to come.

The party has picked P.K. Harikumar, the former chairman of the Vaikom municipality, for the Kottayam Lok Sabha seat and State committee member P.K. Sainaba for Malappuram.

Party sources said youth leader A.N. Shamseer would be the party’s candidate in Vadakara though there was some amount of criticism about it from the State committee members from Kozhikode.

The tentative CPI(M) candidate line-up is as follows: A. Sampath (Attingal), M.A. Baby (Kollam), Peelipose Thomas (Pathanamthitta), C.B. Chandrababu (Alappuzha), P.K. Harikumar (Kottayam), Christy Fernandez (Ernakulam), Innocent (Chalakkudy), P.K. Biju (Alathur), M.B. Rajesh (Palakkad), V. Abdurahiman (Ponnani), P.K. Sainaba (Malappuram), A.N. Shamseer (Malappuram), P.K. Sreemathy (Kannur) and P. Karunakaran (Kasaragod).

The party will finalise and announce its candidates list only after further discussions and there could, therefore, be some changes in some of the names now being talked about.