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Polls pick up in Kerala

Campaign for the May 10 LS elections is gaining momentum in the coming days as all the 20 constituencies are witnessing a keen contest between Congress-led UDF and CPI-M headed LDF and BJP.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Thiruvananthapuram
PUBLISHED ON APR 16, 2004 08:40 PM IST

Campaign for the May 10 Lok Sabha elections in Kerala is set to gain momentum in the coming days as all the 20 constituencies are witnessing a keen contest between the ruling Congress-led UDF and CPI-M headed LDF and BJP making it a three-horse race in a few seats.

Having completed preliminaries like workers' conventions, leaders of rival formations are scheduled to criss cross the state canvassing for their candidates.

Spearheading the UDF electioneering, Chief Minister AK Antony is to begin a fortnight-long road show on April 20 from Kasargod, covering all the constituencies.

Having decided their candidates well in advance, LDF and BJP have had a headstart, applying pressure on the Congress nominees to make extra efforts in subesequent rounds.

With the first two phases of polls over in other parts of the country, some of the top national leaders are expected to make whistle-stop tour of the state.

So far, Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani is the lone national leader to have visited the state as part of his Bharat Uday Yatra since the announcement of elections.

Both the LDF and the UDF agree that the electoral battle this time is tough. Though the rival formations have the same national goal of unseating the BJP-led Union Government as the central theme of their poll rhetoric, there is no slackening in their efforts to outwit each other in the state.

In 1999 elections, the UDF gained 11 seats, the LDF nine and the BJP drawing a blank.

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