CPI not to field three-time contestants

The CPI State council will not field party workers who have contested three Assembly elections.

It meant several incumbent CPI legislators and Ministers are unlikely to contest the upcoming polls.

They purportedly include C. Divakaran, Mullakkara Retnakaran, E.S. Bijumol and Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, Forest Minister K. Raju and Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman. However, Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan, who has only contested only twice, might make the cut.

The CPI has also banned persons holding organisational positions from contesting. If asked to compete by party committees, they would require to relinquish their organisational responsibility. It meant that the CPI is unlikely to field any of its key State and district-level functionaries.

CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran, who chaired the council, said candidate selection would reflect the generational shift, demographic changes and political currents that spurred the LDF to victory in the local body polls. The vote was for the party and not the individual.

NCP issue

When pressed about friction in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) about yielding the Pala seat to the Kerala Congress (M), Mr. Kanam said LDF constituents must forgo some of their seats to allow electoral space for new allies, Mr. Rajendran said.

The LDF would not shut the door on the NCP. The media should stop goading incumbent Pala legislator and NCP leader Mani. C. Kappan into striking out on the wrong path, he said.

Sabarimala issue

Mr. Rajendran said the Congressโ€™s Sabarimala Bill was a trick to deceive Ayyappa devotees. A larger Supreme Court Bench was reviewing the 2018 majority decision allowing women of all ages to worship at the temple. The LDF affidavit proposed a panel of Hindu pandits to decide faith-related matters.

Sabarimala was not an election issue. Neither the Congress nor the BJP has a serious campaign plank. They are prosecuting a recriminatory campaign low on substance against the LDF, he said.

The Centreโ€™s infringement on federalism by denying States their share of the tax revenue was a central plank of the LDF campaign. So were livelihood concerns, infrastructure development, welfare, knowledge creation, sound economy, and social justice, he added.

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