Battle lines drawn ahead of polls in Kerala
With just a little over a month left for the Assembly polls in Kerala, the election scene is hotting up with the Congress-led ruling UDF, CPI-M headed LDF and BJP alliance declaring their candidates and hitting the campaign trail.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the spearhead of UDF campaign, along with KPCC president VM Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, have been focusing on ‘development initiatives’ undertaken during the UDF regime in the past five years to retain power yet another time.
The opposition LDF has said its poll plank will be allegations of corruption against the UDF government, especially charges related to solar and bar bribery scams and land assignment issues.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is approaching voters by presenting itself as the ‘third alternative’ to the UDF and the LDF in the state.
Chandy and 18 of his Cabinet colleagues – eight from the Congress and 10 from other UDF constituents – figure among those fielded for the May 16 elections. Only two members of Chandy Cabinet Aryadan Muhammed (Power) and C N Balakrishnan (Cooperation), both Congress, are not contesting this time.
Congress is contesting 83 of the 140 Assembly seats in the state, leaving the rest to its partners. IUML, the second largest UDF partner, has been allotted 24 seats, followed by KC-M 15, JD-U seven, RSP five, KC-J two seats and CMP one seat. The remaining three seats of Kanhangad, Kalliasseri and Payyannur, all in North Kerala, would be contested by UDF-backed independent candidates.