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Campaign in State to end Tuesday

Campaign in State to end Tuesday

Thiruvananthapuram: Campaign for the April 10 Lok Sabha elections in Kerala will end Tuesday with leaders raising the battle to a feverish pitch in the final leg as candidates of the Congress-led UDF and the CPI-M-led LDF are locked in a fierce combat in 20 seats up for grabs.

Though a persistent loser in the state, the BJP has put up contestants across the state and has made the fight a three-horse race at least in the state capital.

The ruling UDF had in 2009 put up a splendid performance bagging 16 of the 20 seats -- 13 Congress, two IUML and one Kerala Congress (M).

Congress is contesting 15 seats this time, giving away two of its sitting seats to allies Socialist Janata Democratic (SJD) and RSP, which quit LDF after declaration of elections.

Contestants back in the fray include six Union Ministers -- Shashi Tharoor, Kodikunnil Suresh, K C Venugopal, K V Thomas, Mullapally Ramachandran (all Congress) and E Ahamed (IUML).

Sitting MPs of the CPI-M-- A Sampath, M B Rajesh, P K Biju and P Karunakaran-- are seeking a fresh mandate from the same constituencies that they won in 2009.

High profile UDF contestans include former Union Minister M P Veerendrakumar, fighting it out with Rajesh of the CPI-M in Palakkad.

Prominent LDF candidates in the field includes CPI-M politbureau member and former minister M A Baby, taking on N K Premachandran of the RSP in Kollam.

The LDF has fielded five independents, including veteran cine actor Innocent in Chalakkudi, pitted against Congress heavyweight P C Chacko, who headed the JPC on 2G spectrum allocation.

The BJP has put its best hope on former union minister O Rajagopal, who is giving a fight to Tharoor of the Congress and Bennet Abraham of the CPI in Thiruvananthapuram.


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