Election campaign ends in Kerala

Last Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011 - 20:14

Thiruvananthapuram: Campaign ended on Monday
evening for April 13 Assembly polls marred by mutual
recriminations between CPIM-led LDF and Congress-headed UDF in
a bitterly fought battle in highly politically polarised
Kerala.

The campaign ended on a peaceful but somewhat acrimonious
note with chief minister and 87-year old Marxist leader VS
Achuthanandan calling Rahul Gandhi an `Amul baby` in
retaliation to the Congress youth leader taking a potshot at
him over his age.

The rival fronts are locked in a fierce combat in most of
the constituencies making it a close contest in the state
which had alternately voted for the LDF and UDF every five
years and where even a small swing could be decisive.

In the initial stages, the UDF seemed to have enjoyed a
clear edge in view of the impressive performance in the Lok
Sabha and civic polls by the Congress and its allies.

But Achuthanandan`s entry into the contest after initially
being denied a seat changed the complexion of the battle.

As the campaign gained momentum, the ruling LDF has
succeeded in taking the fight to the UDF camp.

While Achuthanandan has been the LDF`s "undisputed" leader
and star-campaigner pulling big crowds, Congress veteran and
Defence Minister AK Antony was hot on the campaign trail of
the Marxist leader to take on his aggressive campaign.

The electioneering had reached its crescendo last week with
national leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, AICC General Secretary Rahul
and BJP stalwart LK Advani, addressing meetings.

All promient Left leaders, including Prakash Karat and AB
Bardhan, General Secretaries of CPI-M and CPI respectively,
toured the state.

High profile contestants include Achuthanandan
(Malampuzha), UDF`s chief ministerial probable Oomen Chandy
(Puthupally), KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala (Harippad),
Muslim League leader PK Kunhalikutty (Vengara), Kerala
Congress (M) supremo KM Mani (Pala) and senior BJP leader O
Rajagopal (Nemom).

The electioneering was peaceful with no major violence or
cases of serious violation of model code of conduct reported
from anywhere.

A total of 971 candidates are in the fray, a majority of
them independents. The state has a total electorate of 2.31
crore.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 11, 2011 - 20:14

comments powered by Disqus