Achuthanandan, Vijayan will both contest in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, March 30 (IANS) CPI-M veterans V.S. Achuthanandan and his known rival Pinarayi Vijayan figure in the first list of 124 LDF candidates announced in Kerala on Wednesday.

The list also includes film star Mukhesh and two journalists, Vaikom Viswan, convenor of the Left Democratic Front, announced here. The Kerala assembly election will take place in May.

“The remaining 16 candidates will be announced in the coming days as talks are on at various levels. The LDF manifesto will be released on April 5,” Viswan said.

The LDF, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, on Monday finalised seat sharing agreement among Left allies.

The CPI-M will contest 92 seats, the Communist Party of India 27, the Janata Dal-Secular five, the Nationalist Congress Party four and the Congress-S and Kerala Congress one seat each.

Among the parties having a tie-up with the LDF, the Kerala Congress-Democratic will contest four seats and the Indian National League (INL) three. There will be a candidate each from the Kerala Congress-Pillai, Communist Marxist Party (CMP) and Revolutionary Socialist Party-L (RSP-L).

Former chief minister Achuthanandan, 92, is contesting for the fourth successive time from Palakkad. He is the eldest candidate.

Jaik C. Thomas, who turns 26 next month, is the youngest LDF candidate. He will take on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Puthupally constituency in Kottayam district.

Popular actor Mukhesh is one of the two film stars in the list. He will contest from Kollam. His selection had been opposed by party activists who favoured former state minister P.K. Gurudasan, the outgoing legislator.

The second film star is K.B. Ganesh Kumar, a legislator for 15 years who last year quit the Congress-led UDF to join the Left.

The two journalist candidates are M.V. Nikesh Kumar and Veena George, both from Reporter TV channel.

Kumar is the son of former firebrand CPI-M leader late M.V. Raghavan. He will be an independent candidate from Azhikode constituency which his father won after leaving the CPI-M in the 1980s.

George was a surprise choice and will battle Congress veteran K. Sivadasan Nair in Aranmula constituency in Pathanamthitta district.

“We have picked candidates from a wide spectrum of professions,” said Viswan.

In the outgoing Kerala assembly, the LDF had 68 seats. In 2011, it was made up of six parties and had a tie-up with the INL.

This time, the LDF has got four more parties into its fold: breakaway factions of Kerala Congress-Mani, Kerala Congress-Democratic, RSP-L and the CMP led by Aravindakshan.

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