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Ruling LDF kick-starts campaign in Ker; Cong, BJP yet to finalise candidates for LS polls

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

With the crucial Lok Sabha polls falling on April 23 in Kerala, the ruling LDF has kick-started its and door-to-door campaigning, while the opposition UDF and BJP-led NDA are yet to finalise their candidates.

The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, which started the process of candidate selection much earlier, had announced its nominees days ahead of the announcement of the poll dates by the

While the Left candidates began meeting the voters personally, their political opponents are yet to take a plunge into the poll fray.

and LDF candidate in Thiruvananthapuram constituency, C Divakaran, was seen seeking votes from women devotees who came for the Pongala ritual at a local temple here.

Almost all Left candidates have drawn up their poll strategy and begun fierce campaigning as elections are just 42 days away in the state. The LDF activists are going ahead with wall writing and pasting posters of their candidates.

As the poll outcome is crucial for the Left parties, especially at the national level, the LDF had decided to field its six sitting MPs and an equal number of MLAs, besides senior leaders and experienced party members, leaving nothing to chance.

Garnering maximum number of seats is significant for senior CPI(M) leader and Pinarayi Vijayan, especially because the result would be seen as the evaluation of his three-year-old government's performance.

Vijayan also has to prove through the results that his decision to implement the verdict, permitting women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple, had the support of the general public as he claimed.

Even when many of his party leaders had secretly raised concern about losing the support of a large section of society, especially women, Vijayan had categorically said the Left government's only priority was to lead the state on a "progressive path" and it was not afraid of losing a few seats or votes.

The opposition Congress-led United and BJP-headed have already made it clear that they would raise the Sabarimala issue and the "adamant" stand taken by Vijayan, which allegedly hurt the sentiments of devotees, during the election.

However, the Left front is banking on the Vijayan government's achievements on the development front, health and education sectors.

Meanwhile, putting the party leadership in a fix, many senior leaders,including former Oommen Chandy, and sitting Mullappally Ramachandran, and senior leader V M Sudheeran have reportedly expressed reluctance to contest in the Lok Sabha polls.

Differences that cropped up within their major ally, the (M), are also a cause of worry for the party, ahead of the elections.

Despite these, the UDF's expectations are high as the front believes that the political situation in favours them because people are unhappy about the performance of in the Centre and Vijayan in the state.

Giving wings to their hopes, most pre-poll surveys have predicted a clean sweep by the Congress-headed front in the southern state.

Marathon discussions are continuing in the BJP-NDA to finalise the candidates as the saffron party seeks to ensure that the 'lotus blooms' in Kerala, which has been dominated by the bipolar polity by the LDF and the UDF.

The saffron party, which is trying all means to make grassroot level inroads in the state, is yet to open an account in the Parliament polls.

This time, the BJP is pinning its hopes on at least four constituencies, including Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta.

BJP leaders have expressed confidence that the Modi government's people-friendly schemes and the Sabarimala agitations, spearheaded by the saffron party, would help them to open an account.

During the 2014 Lok Sabaha polls, the Congress-led UDF had won 12 seats and the CPI(M)-led LDF eight, while the BJP drew a blank.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 11 2019. 15:30 IST