Electioneering gains momentum in Kerala
Besides the main political players, BJP has started a vigorous campaign in all the 140 segments.
Thiruvananthapuram: Battle lines are drawn in Kerala for the April 13 assembly polls with Congress, the main partner in United Democratic Front (UDF) also announcing their list of candidates in 81 constituencies it is contesting in the 140-member House.
CPM headed Left Democratic Front (LDF) is way ahead in their campaign as the Front had already begun first round of campaign after deciding the candidates and publishing the Front's manifesto last week itself. Posters and flex boards with pictures of LDF candidates have been put up in all the constituencies while the UDF's election work is yet to start.
State Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and star campaigner for LDF had already hit the campaign trail from Malampuzha in Palakkad district, from where he is contesting. The 87-year old CPI-M veteran is getting enthusiastic receptions in all the centres in the northern districts, the stronghold of marxists.
With the announcement of congress list of candidates, the UDF campaign is expected to pick up in coming days as uncertainty over seat sharing of the Front partners has been settled. Congress has come up with quite a few surprises in its selection of candidates by naming several new faces including seven women.
Opposition leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will contest from his traditional seat Puthupalli in Kottayam district while KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala will contest from Haripad in Alappuzha.
K Muraleedharan, former KPCC President and son of late K Karunakaran, who was taken back to the party after six years of suspension, was given ticket to contest from Vattiyourkavu in the state capital. However, his younger sister Padmaja Venugopal who was also an aspirant has been denied a seat this time, with explanation that her services would be utilized for party activities.
In a bid to give a tough challenge to Achuthanandan, congress has nominated Lathika Subhash, a leader of Mahila congress. Among the youths, Kerala Students Union President Shafi Paambil will contest from Palakkad. The State Youth Congress president P C Vishumath has been renominated from Chenganur.
All the 23 sitting MLAs have been re-nominated to contest from their respective sitting seats, though some of the segments have been renamed after delimitation.
The congress women candidates are Thankamani Divakaran (Attingal), Indira (Kalliassery), Shaheeda Kamal (Chadaymangalam), Bidu Krishna (Chathanoor), Shantha Jayaram (Shoranur) and P K Jayalakshmi (Mananthavadi).
Except Socialist Janata Democratic (SJD) and CMP, all the other UDF partners Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress (M), KC-Jacob,KC-B and JSS have announced their list of candidates. SJD and CMP will finalise their candidates soon.
Besides the main political players in Kerala, BJP which is trying to open account in the assembly has started a vigorous campaign in all the 140 segments.
The party is focussing on five seats including that of former Union Ministr O Rajagopal who is contesting from Nemom in the state capital. BJP top leaders including Sushma Swaraj is expected to arrive for poll campaign in the coming days.