Veterans cross swords with youngsters in Kerala

Octogenarians, septuagenarians and a 92-year-old are among others in the poll arena, sweating it out with rivals half their age to woo voters in the April 13 Assembly polls in Kerala.

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 15:43 PM IST

Kochi: Octogenarians, septuagenarians and
a 92-year-old are among others in the poll arena, sweating it out with rivals half their age to woo voters in the April 13 Assembly polls in Kerala.

Among those in the fray are three `seniors` who are well
past their 80s, including Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.

The three senior-most candidates in the electoral
bandwagon are 92-year-old K R Gowri from Chertala, 82-year-old
O Rajagopal from Nemom, besides Achutanandan from Malampuzha.

87-year-old Achuthanandan, who is spearheading the
CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front campaign, was given the
go-ahead to contest by the CPI(M) State Committee which had to
reverse its earlier decision not to give him a ticket on
"health grounds."

The state unit was forced to change its stance following
the intervention of the central leadership.

The Chief Minister, unmindful of his advanced age, has
been covering the length and breadth of the state and his
campaign has been drawing a lot of attention.

At every meeting, VS, as he is called, doesn`t miss an
opportunity to hit out at the main opposition UDF leaders in
his distinctive sing-song style which is a huge hit among the
masses.

His rival is 46-year-old Latika Subash, representing the
Congress-led United Democratic Front.

K R Gowri, the oldest candidate in the fray, is a former
firebrand Communist leader, and is now leading JSS
(Janadhipathiya Samrakshana Samithi), a UDF partner.
Gowri has contested elections 16 times so far and has
lost only thrice-- the first time in 1948 when she made her
electoral debut, then in 1977 and in 2006. Three elections she
contested were before the state was formed.

LDF`s P Thilothaman (CPI), in his forties, has been
pitted against Gowri Amma, as she is known.

Gowri was the Revenue minister in the first elected
Communist Government headed by E M S Namboodiripad in 1957
and had piloted the first Land Reforms Bill.

Gowri then joined the CPI(M) and was expelled from the
Marxist party in 1994 following which she formed the JSS.
Former minister of state for Railways and BJP member O
Rajagopal is contesting from Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram. He
had earlier unsuccessfully contested to the Lok Sabha from the
state`s capital in 2004.

CPI(M) MLA V Sivankutty of the LDF and Charupara of
Socialist Democratic Party, a UDF partner, are the candidates
in the fray against him.

PTI