K.V. Thomas said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would arrive in Kochi next week to campaign for him.

The campaign for Lok Sabha election has turned taut in Ernakulam constituency with major contenders completing two rounds of campaigning across all the Assembly constituencies under it and preparing for the final round. With LDF backed Independent Christy Fernandez and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Anita Pratap getting symbols allotted to them, campaigning got a new vigour. LDF workers were busy, painting the symbol — television — on the walls. Meanwhile, candidates continued their campaign tour across the constituency in open vehicles, unmindful of the scorching heat.

UDF candidate K.V. Thomas spent the whole day on Thursday in the core areas of Ernakulam city, targeting city residents, mainly those who settled here from outside the district. It was a pleasant surprise for him in the evening when the All India Congress Committee (AICC) office in New Delhi contacted him to say that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would arrive in Kochi next week to campaign for him. The date, time and venue would be decided in another two days, he said.

“In the first phase, I had focused on meeting important personalities and visiting religious and social institutions. Now the campaign is on open jeep interacting with voters. On Friday, I will campaign in Paravoor,” he said. Mr Thomas will conclude his campaign in his native village, Kumbalangi, on the last day of campaigning.

On Thursday, Mr. Christy focussed mainly on introducing his symbol, television, to voters in Paravoor. Apart from CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member P. Rajeev and MLA S Sharma, party fellow travellers like Sebastian Paul also accompanied him. He expects CPI(M) leaders V.S. Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan to campaign for him in the coming days.

BJP’s A.N. Radhakrishnan also concentrated in Paravoor on Thursday and almost completed an extensive tour of the whole constituency. He interacted with locals by meeting them in tea shops and eateries. Party national leader Venkiah Naidu will campaign for him on Saturday in Kochi.

Ms. Pratap will conduct a novel boat show on Friday for three hours in the Kochi backwaters, interacting with residents of various islands. She said such a journey alone can help understand the problems of those who live in islands, mainly fish workers. She has already spent three days campaigning on a vehicle decorated with the party’s symbol, broom.

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