Kerala civic polls: 70,915 candidates in the fray

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Thiruvananthapuram: A total of 70,915 candidates are left in the fray for the multi-tier local body polls in Kerala as the deadline for withdrawal of nominations drew to a close on October 7, according to the State Election Commission (SEC).

For the first time, 50 percent of the total 21,612 seats have been reserved for women in village, block and district panchyats and municipal councils and city corporations, where the voting is to take place on October 23 and  October 25. As in any other election in Kerala, the civic polls are also fought fiercely on political lines with the ruling CPI (M)-led LDF and the Opposition Congress-led UDF being the main contestants.

The grass-roots level face-off is taken by main political players in the state as an opportunity for cadre mobilization and a test of ground realities ahead of the assembly polls due in early next year. The LDF, which suffered heavy losses in the Lok Sabha polls last year, has exuded confidence of regaining the lost ground through the civic polls.

According to CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan the LDF is facing the civic polls overcoming certain “weaknesses” from which his party and the LDF suffered during Lok Sabha polls. The UDF, despite the internal bickering over seat sharing, however, is trying hard to make it an impressive show before gearing up for the assembly elections. The BJP, fighting a lonely battle, has put up contestants in majority of seats. Though the battle is largely on coalition lines, both fronts are facing rebel problem in many places across the state with aggrieved aspirants jumping the fray against the party diktats.

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