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ERNAKULAM

The campaign in Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency is slowly picking , with both the UDF and LDF leaving no stone unturned to woo voters.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Kochi
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2004 05:18 PM IST

The campaign scene in the prestigious Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala is slowly picking up for the May 10 elections, with both the Congress-led United Democratic Front and CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front leaving no stone unturned to woo voters.

Using hi-technology, the two fronts are wooing the electorate of this constituency. The UDF launched its website yesterday, having all details of the candidate,its poll issues etc. LDF is also thinking on similar lines and hopes to get their website ready by April 16, LDF sources said.

The LDF, which had a headstart in its campaign work as it had made up its mind on supporting the candidature of Sebastian Paul, an independent and sitting MP, much early, is already into the second round of campaigning and hopes to complete house-to-house campaigning of the entire constituency by mid-April, the sources told PTI.

While LDF had commenced its campaigning, the UDF camp was still debating on whether or not field to Edward Edezhath, a college professor, who took everyone by surprise, including congress circles, when his name found its way in the candidate list.

The congress high command had also toyed with the idea of finding a substitute for Edezhath after an independent agency had expressed reservations about his "winnability" along with two other candidates. However, to prevent a fresh bout of factional squabbles flaring up and respecting the pleas of Chief Minister A K Antony and senior Congress leader K Karunakaran, the high command cleared Edezhath's candidature on March 31.

Edezhath's friends have also launched a parallel campaign with designer posters and a short film.

The LDF website, which is expected to be ready by mid-April will focus on LDF's development agenda with respect to the district and would focus on issues including drinking water shortage, health care, tourism, port and the industrial scenario, the sources said.

A closed-door workshop with about 50 participants, who are well-known in their respective fields, would discuss ways to develop the district and the outcome of the discussion would be brought out as a 'Vision Paper' of the LDF, the sources added.

Proper river management with focus on Periyar, ways to provide cheaper power, LNG, Inland water transport, ways to re-invest excess land of industries would also be discussed.

Plans are also afoot to release the entire voters list in their website and a voter can click and clear any doubts, opinion polls on various issues and a 20 minute visual CD highlighting the various issues, including Muthanga and Marad, are also on the anvil.

Edezhath is making his political and electoral debut and has the Latin catholic church's backing, while Sebastian Paul, has been a lecturer, high court advocate, and a journalist, before jumping onto the political bandwagon. He has twice represented the constituency.

Paul is a well-known media critic and is a regular contributor in the Malayalam newspapers and on the 'Kairali' television channel and is the Associate Editor of 'Deshabhimani', the CPI(M) organ.

BJP has fielded O G Thankappan.

Factional feud is a thing of the past and all Congress workers are working together to ensure Edezhath's victory, succeeds, according to congress sources.

In the Sept 23 bypoll held last year following the death of then sitting MP, George Eden, Sebastian Paul had won by a margin of 22,134 votes defeating UDF'S M O John.

The factional fights in the Congress over selection of John had not been resolved till the polling date, resulting in the Congress losing its bastion.

However, Congress workers said things were different now, thanks to the new found bonhomie between the 'I' and 'A' factions led by Senior Congress leader K Karunakaran and Chief Minister, A K Antony respectively.

The constituency has seven assembly segments-- Parur, Njarackkal, Eranakulam, Mattancherry, Pallurthy, Tripunithura and Aluva.

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