When parties bank on serving and former MPs

Quite a few of them are battling it out for various political formations in the Assembly polls this time

Quite a few serving and former Members of Parliament (MPs) are battling it out in the Assembly polls this time, indicating how political parties are cashing in on their perceived popularity again and again.

The most talked-about of them all is K. Muraleedharan, Vadakara MP, who has been picked by the Congress to contest in the Nemom seat in Thiruvananthapuram, now held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mr. Muraleedharan had won from the nearby Vattiyurkavu segment both in 2011 and 2016. However, his party chose to pack him off to the Vadakara Lok Sabha seat in 2019 to give a tough fight to CPI(M) nominee P. Jayarajan. Mr. Muraleedharan won with a resounding margin. Again, he is going back to the capital city to reclaim the lone Assembly seat of the BJP in the State.

M.V. Shreyams Kumar (Kalpetta) of the Loktantrik Janata Dal and Suresh Gopi (Thrissur) and K.J. Alphons (Kanjirappally) of the BJP are serving members of the Rajya Sabha who are contesting the Assembly polls. Mr. Shreyams Kumar had been an MLA from Kalpetta twice. Mr. Alphons had represented Kanjirappally once as an LDF Independent.

There are some other MPs who relinquished their posts recently to come back to the State politics. P.K. Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union Muslim League had represented the Malappuram Lok Sabha seat since 2017. He had resigned from the post of Vengara MLA to contest a bypoll then and was re-elected in 2019.

Less than two years later, he quit his position and is now contesting from Vengara again. Jose K. Mani, who was chosen as a Rajya Sabha MP in 2018, recently resigned to contest from the Pala Assembly seat.

There are some former MPs too in the poll fray this time. Prominent among them is M.B. Rajesh of the CPI(M), who was Palakkad MP twice, but was defeated by a slender margin in 2019. Mr. Rajesh has been fielded in the Thrithala seat in Palakkad against incumbent MLA V.T. Balram.

Others on the list are veteran Congress leader N. Peethambara Kurup, who represented Kollam in the Lok Sabha once, and K.S. Manoj, who won as an Left Independent candidate from Alappuzha once. Mr. Kurup is now contesting from Chathannur. After he switched his loyalty to the Congress, Dr. Manoj is contesting in Alappuzha.

MLAs too

The State had also seen serving MLAs being paraded in the Lok Sabha polls. K. Sudhakaran (Kannur), Mr. Muraleedharan (Vadakara), Hibi Eden (Ernakulam), and Adoor Prakash (Attingal) were the Congress MLAs who tried their luck in 2019 and won. Left Democratic Front MLAs A. Pradeep Kumar (Kozhikode), P.V. Anwar (Ponnani), A.M. Ariff (Alappuzha), Chittayam Gopakumar (Mavelikara), Veena George (Pathanamthitta), and C. Divakaran (Thiruvananthapuram) too contested the polls, but only Mr. Ariff won.

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