The election bugle has been sounded with the Election Commission of India (ECI) announcing the date for elections in Kerala.
The state will go to polls in a single phase for 140 constituencies on May 16 and the counting will be held for all four states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal and one union territory of Puducherry on May 19.
As per the poll schedule, the issuance of the gazette notification would be done on April 22, while the last date of making nominations is on April 29.
The announcement comes after a meeting between EC and home ministry officials on March 1 followed by a final round of talks with the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of all states going to polls.
With the polling date announced, the model code of conduct (MCC) will come into force. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been on an inauguration spree in the past few weeks but will not be able to announce any new scheme or inaugurate any projects with the MCC in place.
The political situation however continues to be in a flux with parties still mulling over alliance formations.
SNDP leader Vellapally Natesan’s new party BDJS has joined the National Democratic Alliance(NDA). Natesan had gone to Delhi to meet BJP president Amit Shah to discuss issues regarding the tie-up in the state. This means Kerala is all set to see a three pronged fight between the LDF, UDF and the NDA.
Kerala Congress Mani group has again split with the KC Joseph faction joining the LDF. Antony Raju and PC Joseph also moved out from the party and are likely to join LDF.
The LDF meanwhile has garnered support from PC George, rebel Kerala Congress (Mani) group leader.
Another major change in the coalition equation is that RSP which was with LDF in 2011 polls is now with UDF, after the party snapped its ties over differences of seat sharing in the last Lok Sabha polls.