Kerala CPI-M contemplating on names for RS seats

Talks have begun in the ruling CPI-M led Left Front to name two candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls, scheduled for April 12.

Three seats in the Rajya Sabha fell vacant after the retirement of the members. The Congress-led opposition has already announced their candidate after the Indian Union Muslim League decided to renominate their sitting member P.V. Abdul Wahab.

For the other two seats, the names of State Finance Minister Thomas Issac and CPI-M leader Cherian Phillip have started taking the rounds.

As per the Commission, notifications regarding the polls will be issued on March 24, the last date of making nominations is March 31, scrutiny of nominations is to be done till April 3 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is April 5.

Incidentally, all this is happening while the Kerala Assembly polls to elect 140 legislators will take place on April 6.

In the midst of the election campaign, talks in the CPI-M have commenced and the name of Issac, who is a four time legislator and was a surprise omission, when the CPI-M list of candidates to the Assembly was announced, is seriously being discussed.

Another name that’s being discussed in the CPI-M is that of former Congress leader Phillip, who revolted in 2001 after the Congress party denied a ticket and he left the party, only to be fielded by the CPI-M against Oommen Chandy in the 2001 Assembly polls.

After Phillip lost, he became a strong fellow traveller of the CPI-M and was given the prized post of the chairman of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation in 2006.

In 2011, he was fielded against K.Muraleedharan in the upcountry Vatiyoorkavu constituency in the state capital, but lost.

And after Pinarayi Vijayan assumed office in 2016, Phillip was given a cabinet status post in one of Vijayan’s pet projects.

But the only thing that has to be seen is will the CPI or any of the other allies stake a claim to one of the three vacant seats and if that happens, either Issac or Phillip will miss the bus.