Rival fronts in Kerala race to meet poll deadline
Thiruvananthapuram: With Lok Sabha elections in Kerala scheduled for April 10, ruling Congress-led UDF and the opposition CPI(M)-led LDF are expediting the seat-sharing arrangement and candidate selection for the 20 seats at stake to meet the fast approaching deadline.
Though initial rounds of talks have already been underway, a clear picture is yet to emerge as far as both the fronts are concerned.
Signals emanating from the political camps are that there would not be much change in seat-sharing in the UDF as well as the LDF compared to 2009, though some of the partners this time round have staked claim for additional seats.
In 2009, the UDF won 16 of the 20 seats -- 13 by Congress, two by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and one by Kerala Congress (Mani).
The CPI(M) bagged the remaining four seats with its ally CPI drawing a blank.
Prominent UDF contestants in 2009, who are likely to be back in the fray, include Union ministers Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), K V Thomas (Ernakulam), E Ahamed (Malappuram), K C Venugopal (Alappuzha) and Mullpally Ramachandran (Vatakara).
Though yet to finalise its list for Kerala, probable CPI(M) nominees includes party politbureau member M A Baby, likely to contest from Kollam, now held by the Congress. Baby is now an MLA from the area.
Always a `distant third` without ever winning a single Parliament or assembly seat in Kerala`s bipolar polity, BJP is all set to put up former Union Minister O Rajagopal in Thiruvananthapuram, from where he had unsuccessfully contested twice earlier. Rajagopal`s name has been proposed by the state unit to be cleared by the central election committee.
Testing its electoral fortunes for the first time, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has made it clear that it would be fielding candidates in a few selected seats and its probables includes noted writer and activist Sara Joseph in Thrissur, now held by Congress`s P C Chacko, and former IPS officer Ajit Joy in Thiruvananthapuram.
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