Thiruvananthapuram, May 3: Battle lines are drawn for the May 16 assembly polls in Kerala with 1203 candidates remaining in fray to contest from the 140 constituencies when the last date of withdrawal of nominations ended on Monday.
The highest number of candidates is from Malappuram district with 145 and the lowest from Wayanad district with 29, Office of the Chief Electoral officer said on Monday night.
A total of 1647 candidates had filed their nominations earlier and 444 candidates withdrew their nominations today.
In 2011 elections, 971 candidates had contested the polls. Even though the main electoral battle in the state is between the ruling Congress-led UDF and CPI(M) headed LDF opposition, BJP-NDA has also thrown its hat in the poll arena, forcing a triangular fight in several constituencies.
Among the prominent candidates are: Chief minister Oommen Chandy (Puthupally), Opposition leader V S Achutanandan (Malampuzha) and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan (Dharmadom) and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan (Vattiyoorkavu).
Except two, all other ministers of the Chandy cabinet, including Home Minster Ramesh Chennithala (Haripad), Industries Minister and IUML leader P K Kunahlikutty (Vengara), Water Resources Minister P J Jopeph (Thodupuzha) of the Kerala Congress (M) and Labour Minister Shibu Baby John (Chavara) of RSP are in the battlefield.
93-year-old CPI(M) veteran V S Achuthanandan and 83-year-old K M Mani, former Finance Minister and supremo of Kerala Congress (M) are the two senior most politicians who are contesting this time.