CPI State secretary Pannian Ravindran on Thursday said his party would contest in four constituencies in the State in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections — the very same ones it had contested last time under the LDF banner.

“We had last time contested in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Mavelikara and Wayanad constituencies. We will have candidates there,” he said, answering a question at a press conference here.

He put to rest all speculations on who would be the candidates and whether the CPI would “import a high profile candidate” to take on Union Minister for State Shashi Tharoor (who was expected to be the Congress candidate in Thiruvananthapuram for a second time) by stating that there had so far been no discussion within the party for selecting candidates.

“We have strong party workers who are eminently suitable. The rumours are baseless,” he said, ridiculing the people behind the rumours as those with vested interests. He said the party expected to announce its candidates by February-end.

He said the political mood of the State was one of anger against the Congress-led UDF government in the State and the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. The Congress would win no seats in Kerala. With a third alternative to Congress and the BJP emerging at the national level, the seats the LDF would win in the State would make a difference in utcome, he said, adding that he would not be surprised if the LDF wonall 20 seats in the State.

Issues

Price rise and corruption were the issues before the common man. The BJP could not make any progress in Kerala due to a very strong presence of the secularist forces here, he said. The party’s State executive was in session here on Wednesday and Thursday. Mr. Ravindran said the party was already battle ready. “We have decided to launch a massive agitation against price rice and corruption. Between February 15 and 22, there would be district-level propaganda rallies and these would be followed by a Raj Bhavan march on February 24. We have also decided to take out marches to selected offices of the Central and State governments in all the taluks in the State on February 25,” he said.

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