As in the past, the CPI(M) in Kerala is all set to rope in some prominent personalities to be put up as "independent" candidates for the Lok Sabha polls including a cine actor, a retired civil servant and a former District Congress Committee president.
While veteran actor and humourist Innocent has agreed to contest from his home constituency Chalakkudy, senior Congress leader Peelipose Thomas has already started seeking votes in Pathanamthitta.
The candidature of Christie Fernandes, a retired IAS officer who served as Secretary to the President during Pratibha Patil's tenure, is under active consideration of the LDF as its contestant for the Ernakulam seat, now held by Union Minister K V Thomas.
Having won only four of the 20 seats in 2009, the LDF in general and the CPI(M) in particular, can afford to search for independents or fresh faces compared to the Congress-led UDF in which all the 16 sitting MPs have staked claim to be back in their respective constituencies.
According to CPI(M) sources, independents are being tried on such factors as social and political profile of the seat concerned and the winnability of the candidates.
"There are constituencies where the party is strong politically. In certain seats,the UDF has an edge over the LDF but the voters are disenchanted with the ruling front. In such places independents could garner votes outside the political base of the Left and in such places independents could prove effective," CPI-M sources said.
But the UDF leaders reject this optimism of the rival holding the ensuing polls are keenly fought on political issues and voters would not be bluffed by the LDF's tactics.
This was not for the first time that the Left is fielding cultural personalities as independents.
As back 1960s, eminent Malayalam writer S K Pottekkat, who later won the coveted Jnanpith Award, emerged victorious from Thalassery in north Kerala.
But there were also instances of prominent independents bitting dust as in the case of poet and lyricist O N V Kurup in Thiruvananthapuram.
Though actors plunging into electoral politics is not as common in Kerala as compared to Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh, Innocent sounded confident of his new real-life role.
Also president of AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists), Innocent said politics was not new to him as he had already tried his hand by winning a municipality election some decades back from his home town Irinjalakkuda in Thrissur district.
Some other names doing the round include those of actors Jagadish and Mukesh, who have been in the industry for around three decades.
Malayalam superstar Suresh Gopi recently also met with BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Gujarat causing a section of media connected the visit with the impending Lok Sabha polls, even though Gopi said he met the BJP leader only to share with him the problems faced by the film industry in the South.
Former Minister for Forest K B Ganesh Kumar, who essayed a number of supporting roles in movies and tele serials, is one of the few artists who switched over to political career, with the backing of his father and Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai.
Eminent film maker Ramu Kariat, who directed the path-breaking movie 'Chemmeen', the first National Award winning film in Malayalam, was elected to Kerala Assembly in 1964 from Nattika as an independent supported by Communist party.
Though veteran actor Murali tried his luck in the Lok Sabha polls in 1999 on the CP(M) ticket, he was defeated by V M Sudheeran of the Congress.
Though Malayalam's 'evergreen' hero Prem Nazir joined the Congress party, he never had a chance to make an electoral debut.