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Parties, coalitions in Kerala busy finalising candidates

Parties, coalitions in Kerala busy finalising candidates

Thiruvananthapuram: With the deadline for filing nominations for the April 10 Lok Sabha polls in Kerala fast approaching, political parties have gone into a huddle to finalise contestants for the 20 seats and start a high voltage campaign with local topics figuring as prominently as national issues.

While almost all 16 sitting MPs of Congress-led UDF are expected to be back in the fray, rival LDF is on the lookout for fresh faces for most constituencies, barring the four it won in 2009.

According to CPI-M sources, veteran cine actor Innocent is to be fielded in Chalakkudy in central Kerala, won by Congress's K P Dhanapalan last time.

A humorist, Innocent is also president of Malayalam cine artists association "AMMA" and party strategists think that despite his winnability, his candidature will also bring the goodwill of film fraternity to the LDF.

Two other prominent CPI-M leaders to enter the fray are party politbureau member and sitting MLA M.A Baby (Kollam) and Central Committee member and former minister P K Sreemathy (Kannur).

The party has decided field its four sitting MPs - P Karunakaran (Kasargode), M B Rajesh (Palakkad), P K Biju (Alathur) and A Sampath (Attingal). The state committee is holding its meeting to finalise the list.

Actor Suresh Gopi, who essayed many an "angry young man" role in Malayalam, met Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad the other day, fuelling speculation that he might enter the poll arena in his home town Kollam or campaign for BJP. However, there was no confirmation on this either from the actor or the party leadership.

Prominent UDF contestants to be back in the fray, in all probability, are Union ministers K V Thomas (Ernakulam), Sashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), K C Venugopal (Alappuzha), Mullapally Ramachandran (Vatakara), Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikkara)-all Congress - and E Ahamed of IUML(Malappuram).

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