New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: Union Minister K.J. Alphons and new party entrant K.S. Radhakrishnan are among the 13 candidates in Kerala the BJP announced in its first Lok Sabha candidates list released on Thursday.
The list was released in Delhi on Thursday evening by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader J.P. Nadda.
Out of Kerala's 20 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP is contesting 14 seats, while five seats will be contested by its principal ally, the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), and the Kerala Congress, led by former Union Minister P.C. Thomas, the remaining one seat.
A former Vice Chancellor of the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit and considered close to former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who made him chairman of the Public Service Commission, Radhakrishnan, who joined the BJP on Sunday, has been asked to contest the Alappuzha Lok Sabha seat, while Alphons will fight it out at Ernakulam, where he will face Hibi Eden of the Congress and former Rajya Sabha member P. Rajeev of the CPI-M.
Speaking to the media in Delhi, Alphons, presently a Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan, expressed happiness as he said Ernakulam is his second home as he has a house there and lived there when he was practicing as an advocate at the Kerala High Court.
"My opponents are my good friends and the bottom line is what one has done for the people. I represent (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji who has led the country admirably and that's my strength," he said.
The others include former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan, who quit his post early this month, will take on sitting Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram, where Communist Party of India veteran and sitting legislator C.Divakaran is also contesting.
Thiruvananthapuram was the only Lok Sabha seat in Kerala where the BJP finished second in the 2014 polls, when O.Rajagopal gave Tharoor hiccups before the diplomat-turned-politician won by a margin of around 15,000 votes.
Sobha Surendran, who secured 1.36 lakh votes from Palakkad seat in 2014, has been fielded this time from Attingal, the suburban constituency in the state capital district.
Among the other top state leaders who have found a seat are A.N. Radhakrishnan (Chalakudy), and C.K. Padmanabhan (Kannur), Raveesh Thantri Kuntar (Kasargode), V.K. Sajeevan (Vadakara), K.P. Prakash Babu (Kozhikode) and Unnikrishnan Master (Malappuram), V.T. Rema (Ponnani) C. Krishnakumar (Palakkad) and K.V. Sabu (Kollam).
The BJP candidate from Pathanamthitta has not been announced.