THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state is witnessing a never-before trend in Assembly polls. The three fronts—UDF, LDF and NDA–are vying with each to field celebrities such as Mukesh, Siddique, Jagadeesh, Suresh Gopi, Kollam Thulasi, Bheeman Reghu, Rajasenan, Ashokan, Vinayan and controversial cricketer S Sreesanth. The Left has been drawing flak for roping in actors KPAC Lalitha and Mukesh. “There’s wide lobbying within the party to project certain names, to create an impression that being celebrities they have more acceptance. When you question, they say we should not have parliamentary ambitions,” said a Kerala CPI(M) leader.
Sreesanth from Thiruvananthapuram and Bheeman Raghu from Pathanapuram find place in BJP's second list. BJP has almost finalised the candidature of director Rajasenan in the Nedumangad constituency. Kollam Thulasi, BJP candidate from Kundara, can claim he had received the party membership a couple of years ago, but his contribution to the party is minimal. Reghu's candidacy from Pathanapuram has come at the expense of senior leaders and activists. Director Ali Akbar is contesting as a BJP candidate from Koduvally in Kozhikode district. He was Aam Aadmi Party's candidate from Vadakara in the last Parliament elections.
On the Left Front, Lalitha has conveyed her unwillingness due to ill health and busy schedule. Thulasi has also backtracked. Mukesh is likely to make it in Kollam, though MLA and ex-minister P K Gurudasan (a staunch V S Achuthanandan loyalist) was willing to contest but was sidelined.
Siddique may not make it to the Congress list, while Jagadeesh is still the favourite for Pathanapuram, which will make it a three way star war with K B Ganesh Kumar and Bheeman Reghu.
In CPI(M), Ashokan and Vinayan are awaiting the party’s nod.