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Election scene becomes clear in Kerala
The election scene became clear with candidates of CPM-led LDF, Cong-led UDF and BJP entering the Kerala polls.
Thiruvananthapuram: The election scene in Kerala became clear on Saturday as the first stage of the poll process ended with candidates of ruling CPM-led LDF, Congress-led UDF and BJP entering the fray for the April 13 assembly polls.
As the deadline for filing of nominations ended on Saturday, UDF's Chief Ministerial probable Oommen Chandy, contesting for the eighth consecutive time on a Congress ticket from his home turf Puthuppally in Kottayam district was among prominent candidates who filed their papers.
The segment has returned Chandy, 68, since 1970 consecutively.
Electoral authorities said 775 persons had filed nominations till noon across the state. The final figures would be available only by late evening.
Scrutiny of nominations will take place on March 28. The last date for withdrawal is March 30.
Key contests are in Malampuzha where Chief Minister and CPM stalwart V S Achuthanandan is seeking re-election for a third consecutive time. Congress has fielded woman leader Lathika Subhash against him.
Besides Achuthanandan, his 14 ministerial colleagues are seeking another term, eight from CPM, two from CPI, one each from RSP, Congress-S, Janata Dal-S and Kerala Congress (Thomas).
Prominent UDF candidates include KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, late leader K Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan, NSUI national president Hibi Eden, Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikutty, KC-M veteran K M Mani and leading film producer and entrepreneur P V Gangadharan.
In LDF, lead partner CPM is contesting in 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 contested in 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).
Prominent women contestants include 92 year-old K R Gowri Amma, leader of JSS, a UDF partner, CPM central committee member M C Josephine and state Mahila Congress president Bindu Krishna.
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.
Both UDF and LDF manifestos have populist promises like low-priced rice through ration shops to both BPL and APL categories.