Kottayam (Kerala): The by-election to Pala Assembly segment in Kerala will be held on Monday with the results expected to have a bearing on the future course of three major political fronts--LDF, UDF and BJP-led NDA-- in the southern state.
As many as 13 candidates are in fray in the constituency having a total of 1,79,107 voters. The main contest is between candidates of the CPI(M)-led LDF, Congress-led UDF and BJP-led NDA in the elections.
While the ruling LDF has fielded NCP leader Mani C Kappen as its candidate in the constituency, Jose Tom Pulikkunnel of Kerala Congress is the candidate of Congress-led UDF. BJP's Kottayam district president N Hari is the NDA candidate.
The by-poll would be held from 7 am to 6 pm. The by-election was necessiated due to the demise of former Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) leader KM Mani. Mani had held the constituency for more than five decades.
During the bitter poll campaign, various issues including corruption, economic slowdown, crisis in the farm sector and Sabarimala women entry issue were raised by the parties.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who toured the constituency seeking votes for the LDF candidate in the last three days of campaigning, attacked the UDF over alleged corruption in setting up infrastructure projects in the state during the previous government headed by Oommen Chandy.
Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly and Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala hit back at the Chief Minister, alleging it was the government headed by him which indulged in corruption.
While the LDF leaders raised the irregularities in construction of flyover in Palarivattom in Kochi during the UDF rule, the UDF leaders alleged corruption in setting up infrastructure in the state using funds from Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).
Both the opposition UDF and ruling LDF were confident of winning the bypoll.
The Pala Assembly bypoll would be an acid test for parties as victory would give a big boost to their prospects in the by elections to five constituencies scheduled for October 21 in the state.