Two-hundred-and-sixty-nine candidates are in the battlefield in the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala for the elections to be held on April 10, after the time for withdrawing nomination papers expired on Wednesday.
The longest list is in Thiruvananthapuram constituency, where 20 candidates are in the fray. Mavelikara has the shortest list with nine candidates. Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Attingal have 16 candidates each.
The ballot papers will run into the second page in the constituencies that have more than 15 candidates in the contest.
In the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009, there were 217 candidates contesting in the 20 constituencies in the State — 52 candidates less than this time.
The number of candidates who are left in the contest in each constituency is as follows: Kasaragod 14, Kannur 11, Vadakara 11, Wayanad 15, Kozhikode 13, Malappuram 10, Ponnani 11, Palakkad 15, Alathur 12, Thrissur 14, Chalakudy 15, Ernakulam 16, Idukki 16, Kottayam 11, Alappuzha 13, Mavelikara 9, Pathanamthitta 16, Kollam 11, Attingal 16 and Thiruvananthapuram 20.
While candidates belonging to national parties and State parties received their recognised symbols to contest under, independent candidates fielded by the CPI(M), Innocent (in Chalakudy) received ‘pot’ as his symbol, Joyce George (in Idukki) ‘battery torch’, Peelipose Thomas (in Pathanamthitta) ‘autorickshaw’ and V. Abdurahman (in Ponnani) ‘cup and saucer.’ Aam Admi Party candidates, contesting in 15 constituencies, have been allotted ‘broom.’
The Congress, which won 13 out of 17 seats it contested in 2009, has reduced the number of seats it is contesting to 15 this time, giving away two of its sitting seats to allies the Socialist Janata Democratic and the RSP, which broke away from the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
In the LDF, the CPI(M) is contesting in 10 seats and the CPI in four while Independents have been fielded in five seats, all of them from the kitty of the lead partner, and Janata Dal (S) one.
Ministers in fray
Among the Congress candidates in the fray are five Union ministers — Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), K.V. Thomas (Ernakulam), Mullapally Ramachandran (Vadakara), Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikara) and K. C. Venugopoal (Alappuzha). E Ahamed, Union Minister and IUML leader, is seeking his sixth term from Malappuram.