The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have announced their list of candidates for the Assembly election in Kerala.
The Congress will contest 92 of the 140 seats.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran announced the list of candidates for 86 constituencies. The names for Kalpetta, Nilambur, Vattiyurkavu, Kundara, Thavanur and Pattambi are pending AICC clearance.
K. Muraleedharan, MP, will compete from the high-profile Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram. Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala will contest from their home grounds in Puthuppally and Haripad, respectively.
Mr. Ramachandran said the party wanted a standard-bearer to fight the BJP, primarily, and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Nemom. Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala had offered to take up the gauntlet.
But the All India Congress Committee (AICC) decided otherwise and pushed Mr. Muraleedharan into the fight. Nearly 55% of the candidates were new faces. Forty-six candidates were between the ages of 25 and 50. The AICC has opted for a mix of experience and youth. It has factored in generational shifts, political changes and other factors.
Film actor Dharmajan will contest from the reserved constituency of Balussery.
12 women nominees
The BJP is contesting 115 seats. It has shared the remaining seats with the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) and the Kamaraj Congress, its main allies.
The BJP’s list is speckled with technocrats, former law enforcers, celebrity actors, influencers and hardcore party persons.
It has fielded 12 women candidates. Notably, the party has not announced the candidate for the Kazhakuttam constituency. An insider said the BJP national leadership would decide whether Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan should contest from the Assembly segment.
BJP State chief K. Surendran is contesting from Manjeshwaram in Kasaragod and Konni in Pathanamthitta. BJP national executive member Sobha Surendran did not figure in the list. Technocrat E. Sreedharan (Palakkad), Kummanam Rajasekharan (Nemom), Suresh Gopi (Thrissur), former ADGP Jacob Thomas (Irinjalakuda), P.K. Krishnadas (Kattakada), actor Krishnakumar (Thiruvananthapuram) and V.V. Rajesh (Vattiyurkavu) are the other prominent faces on the list.