Kerala poll campaigning comes to an end

Kerala poll campaigning comes to an end

Public campaigning ahead of the May 16 Assembly election in Kerala ended on Saturday, with both the Congress-led ruling coalition and the Left front expressing confidence to form the next government and the BJP promising its biggest poll performance in the state.

Prominent leaders including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Congress veteran A K Antony, Leader of the Opposition V S Achuthanandan and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan attended meetings and interacted with voters on the last day of what has been a long campaign in a sweltering summer.

Achuthanandan and CPM Polit bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan spent the day in their constituencies – Malampuzha in Palakkad and Dharmadam in Kannur respectively – attending public events. Antony and Chandy reiterated that the Congress-led United Democratic Front was set for an impressive victory. In Thiruvananthapuram, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Rajya Sabha MP and actor Suresh Gopi joined the campaign with BJP candidate S Sreesanth.

BJP national president Amit Shah was also in the capital city, attending meetings. At the 6-pm deadline, supporters of the 3 coalitions assembled at designated venues across the state for celebrations, formally winding up the campaign. The candidates will be engaged in a “silent campaign” on Sunday.

The last day of campaigning was also marred by tension in Vatakara where Revolutionary Marxist Party candidate and wife of slain Communist rebel T P Chandrasekharan was intercepted during her campaign and manhandled, reportedly by a group of CPM supporters. The CPM denied the allegation. Clashes were reported from Palakkad, Thrissur and Kottayam districts.

The ruling Congress, hit by a series of scams, highlighted in its campaign development projects over the past 5 years while the CPM-led Left has called for a vote against corruption.

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