Haripad (Kerala) [India], April 5 (ANI): Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly since 2016, Ramesh Ramakrishnan Nair, popularly known as Ramesh Chennithala, is one of the key candidates contesting from the Haripad constituency for the fifth time, opposite BJP's K. Soman and CPI's R. Sajilal in the upcoming assembly elections.
Haripad Assembly constituency in Alappuzha district of Kerala is part of the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency, which falls in the Travancore region of the state.
In the 2016 Assembly elections Congress' Chennithala won from this seat defeating CPI's P. Prasad by a margin of 18,621 votes. After emerging victorious in this election, Chennithala was elected as Leader of the Opposition.
Under his leadership the United Democratic Front (UDF)-- one of the major political alliances in Kerala consisting of Indian National Congress, Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Forward Bloc and a variety of other smaller parties-- emerged victorious in 2019 general election by winning 19 out of 20 seats in Kerala. This was their biggest victory in the elections after the 1977 election.
In the 2011 Assembly elections Chennithala won from this constituency beating CPI's G.Krishnaprasad by a margin of 5,520 votes.
Chennithala became All India President of the National Students Union of India in 1982 and later, in the same year got elected as MLA from Haripad constituency.
In 1985, he became the General Secretary of Indian Youth Congress (I) and went on to become the youngest minister in the state's history at 29, when he was made the rural development minister in the 1986 Karunakaran ministry-- a record which stands even 35 years on.
He has served as the state Home Minister in the government of Kerala for two years.
He was elected to Parliament from Kottayam three times in 1989, 1991 and 1996 and from Mavelikkara in 1999.
Chennithala served as the President of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee from 2005 till 2014.
He was also a member of various committees including Consultative Committee for Commerce; Labour and Welfare Committee; Central Committee for 125th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi; Central Committee for Birth Centenary of Subhash Chandra Bose; Finance Committee-Lok Sabha; HRD Standing Committee; Public Accounts Committee; Coir Board; Civil Aviation Consultative Committee; and Joint Parliamentary Committee on Pesticides in Soft Drinks and Fruit Drinks.
Kerala heads for Assembly elections on Tuesday with battle lines drawn between the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) which hopes for continuity of term, and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is being seen as a potential threat in many places.
Campaigning came to an end in the state on Sunday for the 957 candidates in the fray for the elections to the 140-member Kerala Legislative Assembly.
On March 19, which was the last date for submission of applications, 2,180 applications were received all over Kerala by the Election Commission. After scrutiny, it dropped to 1,061. As many as 957 candidates are contesting in the Assembly elections after the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.
There are 1,32,83,724 male voters, 1,41,62,025 female voters and 290 transgender voters in 140 constituencies. These include 87,318 expatriate men, 6,086 women and 11 transgender people. Counting of votes will be held on May 2 (ANI)