Electioneering in the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency gathered momentum on Monday with the UDF candidate K.V. Thomas and the BJP’s A.N. Radhakrishnan filing nominations.
The LDF candidate Christy Fernandez and Aam Aadmi Party’s Anita Pratap will file their nominations in the next two days.
Meanwhile, all the candidates have started attending neighbourhood meetings and interacting with voters spread over seven Assembly constituencies.
Mr. Thomas and Mr. Radhakrishnan filed their nomination papers with the District Collector and Returning Officer M.G. Rajamanickam in the morning and they were accompanied by prominent leaders of the respective parties. UDF election committee chairman and PWD Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju, DCC president V.J. Paulose, Benny Behnan, MLA, and Kerala Congress leader M.M. Francis were with Mr. Thomas, who represented Ernakulam in the 15 Lok Sabha.
Mr. Thomas went to the district collectorate after offering prayers at St. Peter’s Church at his native village Kumbalangi on the outskirts of the city. He had also paid respects at the cemetery where his father K.D. Varkey and mother Rose Varkey are interred.
He had also sought the blessings of the KCBC secretary general Bishop Joseph Kariyil.
He reached Kakkanad around 10.30 a.m. and was received by party workers at the INTUC office there. Hundreds of party workers formed a rally and took him to the nearby collectorate. Leaders including MLAs Hibi Eden, Ludy Luiz and Anwar Sadath, GCDA Chairman N.Venugopal, senior leaders A.C. Jose and M.O. John received him outside the collectorate. Mr. Thomas said later that the Congress would win most of the seats in the State and contribute largely to form another UPA government at the Centre.
BJP candidate Radhakrishan filed his papers at 11.55 a.m. after offering prayers at the Edappally Maha Ganapathi temple and Pavakkulam Mahadeva temple. One set of nominations papers was filed on behalf of him. Senior leaders P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, P.J. Thomas and Nedumbassery Ravi accompanied him.
Mr. Radhakrishnan said that a Modi wave sweeping the country would have its reflection in the State as well. He also claimed that the BJP would open its account in the State in this election. Meanwhile, LDF leaders said Mr. Fernandez would file his nomination in another two days and his campaigning was going on in full swing.
As he is an independent, posters and banners introducing Mr. Fernandez now remain devoid of his symbol.
In the case of Aam Aadmi Party candidate Anita Pratap, the party is unsure whether she would get the broom as the symbol as it is not a registered party in Kerala. A few independents are also likely to file their nominations soon.