Thiruvananthapuram: The election scene in
Kerala became clear on Saturday as the first stage of the poll
process ended with candidates of ruling CPI(M)-led LDF,
Congress-led UDF and BJP entering the fray for the April 13
As the deadline for filing of nominations ended today,
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
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
CPI-M 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 CPI-M, two from CPI, one each
from RSP, Congress-S, Janata Dal-S and Kerala Congress
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 CPI-M 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, CPI-M central committee
member M C Josephine and state Mahila Congress president Bindu
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 rationshops to both BPL and APL