Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala goes to the polls on April 23 – the third of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections – to elect its 20 MPs.
The third phase involves 115 constituencies spread across 14 states and union territories.
Of the three political fronts in Kerala, the ruling Left Democratic Front has already named its candidates – 14 from LDF-major Communist Party of India-Marxist, four from the Communist Party of India and two Independents. All have started their campaigns.
CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that while they have already hit the campaign trail, neither the Congress-led United Democratic Front nor the Bharatiya Janata Party have been able to even finalize their candidates.
“Our confidence levels are high as our candidates have already started meeting the people and the response has been quite good,” he said.
State BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai told the media that it was a nice gesture on the part of Election Commission to have given adequate time for campaigning in Kerala.
“The BJP pledges its full support to ensure that the polls are conducted in the most peaceful and democratic manner. Our party is fully geared for the elections,” he said
However, there is yet no word on when would the list of the NDA candidates is expected.
Speaking to the media, Congress spokesperson Jyothi Chamakala said that the UDF has an upper hand as their party is not in power either at the Centre or the state.
“We are beginning our campaigning with no anti-incumbency factor and that’s a good way to hit the campaign trail. Our candidates are getting finalized and in a day or two, the list will be released,” he said.
State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran on Sunday evening left for Delhi with a list of candidates that has been cleared by the state party unit and now be put before the national screening committee.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the UDF won 12 seats, and the LDF the remaining eight, with the BJP managing to finish second at the Thiruvananthapuram constituency and a poor third in the rest of the seats.