Though a persistent loser in Kerala, the BJP has put up contestants across the state.

The ruling UDF had put up a splendid performance in 2009  bagging 16 of the 20 seats -- 13 Congress, two IUML and one Kerala Congress (M).

The Congress is contesting on 15 seats this time, giving away two of its sitting seats to allies Socialist Janata Democratic (SJD) and RSP, which quit LDF after the declaration of elections.

Contestants back in the fray include six Union Ministers -- Shashi Tharoor, Kodikunnil Suresh, KC Venugopal, KV Thomas, Mullapally Ramachandran (all Congress) and E Ahamed (IUML).

Sitting MPs of the CPI(M)-- A Sampath, MB Rajesh, PK Biju and P Karunakaran-- are seeking a fresh mandate from the same constituencies that they won in 2009.

High profile UDF contestants include former union minister M P Veerendrakumar, who is fighting it out with Rajesh of the CPI(M) in Palakkad.

Prominent LDF candidates in the field include CPI (M) politbureau member and former minister M A Baby, taking on NK Premachandran of the RSP in Kollam.

The LDF has fielded five independents, including veteran cine actor Innocent in Chalakkudi, pitted against Congress heavyweight P C Chacko, who headed the JPC on 2G spectrum allocation.

The BJP has put its best hope on former union minister O Rajagopal, who is giving a fight to Tharoor of the Congress and Bennet Abraham of the CPI in Thiruvananthapuram.


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