Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], April 6 (ANI): In the strongly contested Kerala elections, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is seeking to achieve what no other incumbent has been able to do in nearly four decades.
He is leading the LDF charge for another term in office.
'Captain' to his supporters and admirers, Vijayan is banking on the welfare initiatives of his government and the relief work done during the calamities faced by the state. He is contesting from Dharmadam in Kannur district.
Congress has also pulled out all stops in what is seen as "do-or-die" battle for the party and its leaders are expressing confidence that party-led UDF will win the polls. In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, UDF had won 19 of 20 seats but LDF did well in local body polls months before the assembly polls.
Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy is contesting from Puthuppally constituency in Kottayam district. Chandy has won 11 consecutive times from Puthuppally and has completed 50 years as an MLA.
Rames Chennithala, who is the leader of opposition in the state assembly, first contested for state assembly in 1982. He is a four-time MLA and three-time Lok Sabha MP. He holds the record for being the youngest minister in the state.
The Congress is keen to deny BJP any victory in the election and has fielded its sitting MP K Muraleedharan from Nemom, the only seat won by the BJP in the previous assembly election. He is taking on former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan, who is the BJP candidate. CPI-M has fielded V Sivankutty.
Muraleedharan is not the only MP contesting the polls. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader PK Kunhalikutty is contesting from Vengara against his CPI-M and BJP rivals.
As part of its efforts to expand its footprint in Kerala and emerge as a contender for power, BJP has fielded former metro man E Sreedharan from Palakkad. Sreedharan is contesting against sitting MLA Shafi Parambil of Congress and CP Pramod of CPI-M.
BJP state president K Surendran is contesting from two assembly constituencies -- Manjeshwar, where he lost by just 89 votes in 2016, and from Konni.
Surendran was the face of BJP during the protests over state government's decision concerning entry to Sabarimala temple.
Thrissur is witnessing a tri-cornered fight in assembly polls. Congress leader and former Kerala Chief Minister late K Karunakaran's daughter Padmaja Venugopal is fighting the polls in the constituency that was her father's political base. BJP has fielded actor turned politician Suresh Gopi, known for his punch dialogues in Malayalam film. LDF candidate is P Balachandran.
Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has fielded a woman candidate for the first time in 25 years. Noorbina Rasheed is facing another woman candidate Navya Haridas (BJP) from Kozhikode South. Ahammad Devarkovil is contesting the seat from Indian National League.
BJP MP and former union minister KJ Alphons is contesting from Kanjirappally seat where he faces LDF's N Jayaraj and Congress candidate Joseph Vazhackan. (ANI)