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970 candidates in fray in Kerala polls
A total of 970 candidates are in the fray for the 140 Assembly constituencies in Kerala.
Thiruvananthapuram: A total of 970 candidates, including independents, are left in the fray for the April 13 elections to the 140-member Kerala assembly as the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended on Wednesday.
This was disclosed by the office of the Chief Electoral officer.
The main battle is between the ruling CPM-led LDF and the UDF spearheaded by Congress even as the BJP and its allies are also in the field in all the segments.
High profile contestants include Chief Minister and CPM veteran V S Acuthanandan, seeking mandate from the Left bastion Malampuzha in Palakkad district for the third time.
The UDF's Chief Ministerial probable Oommen Chandy is contesting from Puthuppally in Kottayam district, from where he has won seven times consecutively.
Kerala PCC president Ramesh Chennithala is contesting after a long gap from his home turf Harippad in Alappuzha and late leader K Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan is seeking election from Vattiurkavu in the state capital.
Besides Achuthanandan, his 14-cabinet colleagues are back in the fray, eight from CPM, two from CPI, one each from RSP, Congress-S, Janata Dal-S and Kerala Congress (Thomas).
Prominent UDF leaders battling it out with LDF rivals are Muslim League's P K Kunhalikutty, KC-M veteran K M Mani, 92-year-old K R Gowryamma of JSS and CMP leader M V Raghavan.
In LDF, lead partner CPI-M is contesting 93 seats, CPI (27), JD-S (5), RSP, NCP (4 each), Kerala Congress, INL (three each) and Congress-S (1). The party-wise break up of seats being contested by UDF is Congress (82), IUML (24), KC-M (15), SJD (6), JSS (4), KC-J, CMP (3 each), KC-B (2) and RSP-B (1).
Former Congress MLA Sobhana George, who filed nomination as a rebel in Chengannur against the party candidate and state Youth Congress president P C Vishnunath, pulled out from the fray on Wednesday.
BJP is pinning its hopes on senior leader O Rajagopal, contesting from Nemom in the state capital to help the party open its account in the assembly.
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