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Political parties vie to bring national leaders for campaign

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Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 17 (UNI) With three more days left to end the campaign for the first phase of Assembly elections in Kerala, top political parties in the state are in a hurry to bring the maximum number of their national leaders to add flavour to the election scene as well as to ensure votes.

Though the main contest is between the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, the BJP is also not behind them as they are bringing the maximum number of leaders for electioneering.

The CPI(M) had already started the campaign with its General Secretary Prakash Karat addressing election meetings in Kottayam.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to begin the first leg of her election tour tomorrow. During her one-day tour she would address four public meetings in Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Neyyattinkara.

She is also expected to be back in the state on April 24, the second phase of polls.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also scheduled to launch a two-day campaign beginning on April 19 at Perumbavoor. He would also address election rallies at Thodupuzha and Thiruvalla. The next day he would address meetings at Pattambi, Koyilandy and Iritty.

The BJP, which is fighting the elections on its own is in the forefront in bringing the maximum number of national leaders to the state in an effort to open its accounts. Top leaders, including leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and party President Rajnath Singh are visiting the state to lead the campaign.

Mr Advani would bgan the campaign by addressing an election meeting at Kasaragod today.

On her one-day schedule Ms Sushma Swaraj would address a meeting at Palakkad tomorrow, where former Union Railway Minister O Rajagopal is contesting.

Party senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu will launch a three-day campaign from April 19 covering BJP strongholds.

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