Special Correspondent

Keen contest in most constituencies seen

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Campaign for the first stage of polling in the Assembly elections, involving six districts in south Kerala, ended on Thursday leaving the contestants and their supporters one whole day for door-to-door campaigning.

The usual din marked the conclusion of the campaign, but there were no reports of any clashes from any of the districts going to the polls in the first stage. As many as 409 candidates are in the fray in the 55 constituencies where polling takes place on Saturday.

Of these, 14 are in Thiruvananthapuram, 12 in Kollam, eight in Pathanamthitta, 10 in Alappuzha, 10 in Kottayam and five in Idukki. The six southern districts are crucial for the rival fronts to gain the upper hand in the next Assembly and this was evident in the campaign all along. The LDF is going to the first stage of polling in a confident frame of mind thanks to the favourable swing in votes following Leader of the Opposition V. S. Achuthanandan's entry into the fray and the support extended to the LDF by organisations such as the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Jamaat-e-Islami and, in a sense, the SNDP Yogam.