Thiruvananthapuram: Decks have been cleared for keen electoral battles in all the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala between ruling Congress-led UDF and Oppostion CPI-M led LDF as deadline for withdrawal of nominations for the April 10 polls ended Wednesday.
The BJP, along with its minor allies, has also filed candidates in all the seats and trying to make the contest three cornered in a couple seats.
Fledgling Aam Admi Party has put up candidates in 15 seats including noted writer Sarah Joseph in Thrissur, journalist Anita Pratap in Ernakulam and former IPS officer Ajith Joy in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to the office of Chief Electoral Officer, a total of 311 candidates have been in the fray, many of whom are independents and candidates of splinter left groups and BSP.
The Congress, which put up a sterling performance in 2009 by winning 13 out of 17 seats it contested, has reduced the number of seats it is contesting to 15 this time, giving away two of its sitting seats to allies Socialist Janata Democratic (SJD) and RSP, which quit the LDF after declaration of elections.
In the LDF, CPI-M is contesting 10 seats and CPI four while independents have been fielded in five seats, all of them from the kitty of the lead partner, and Janata Dal (S) one.
Among the Congress candidates in the fray are five Union ministers - Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), K V Thomas (Ernakulam), Mullapally Ramachandran (Vatakara), Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikkara) and K C Venugopoal (Alappuzha).