Political parties in Kerala have fielded a host film and television personalities for the April 6 Assembly polls, hoping to woo the electorate with their favourite stars. As many as nine actors are in fray in the state, trying their luck in the electoral battle for their respective fronts.
National award winning film actor and Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi has been fielded by the BJP-NDA from the Thrissur constituency, while his tinsel town colleagues--K B Ganesh Kumar and Mukesh, both sitting MLAs of the Left Front, are trying their luck from Pathanapuram and Kollam assembly constituencies respectively.
Suresh Gopi, who has acted in over 200 films, including "Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha", "Thalasthanam", "Eklavya" and "Patram", had unsuccessfully contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Thrissur and is hoping to make it this time to the state assembly.
Former minister Ganesh Kumar, son of Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai, entered films in 1985 through K G Geroge's"Irakal" and forayed into the political arena in 2001. He has successfully represented Pathanapuram in the Assembly since then and is confident of sailing through effortlessly this time too.
Another actor, Mukesh, known for his comic roles and television programmes, is hoping that the electorate would give him a second stint as an MLA.
Actors G Krishnakumar (Thiruvananthapuram) and Dharmajan Bolgatty (Balussery) are making their electoral debut on BJP and Congress tickets respectively.
Pala MLA, Mani C Kappan, who switched over to the Congress-led UDF camp, after the LDF denied him the seat, is once again trying his luck from the same constituency, hoping to give a tough fight to his rival Jose K Mani, leader of the Kerala Congress (M) faction.
Kappan has essayed various roles in 25 films, produced at least 12 films, besides directing the super hit "Mannar Mathai Speaking"in which Mukesh had essayed a role.
Playback singer Daleema Jojo is the LDF candidate from Aroor Assembly constituency and is locking horns with UDF candidate and sitting MLA Shanimol Usman.
Film and television serial actress Priyanka Anoop, is contesting as an independent in Aroor.
TV actor Vivek Gopan, a favourite of small screen viewers, is trying his luck from Chavara on the BJP-NDA ticket, and is seeking votes on the development plank. His role in the serial "Parasparam", which ran for over 1,500 episodes, made him a household name in the state.
Unlike neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where actors like M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa went on to become Chief Ministers, the politically conscious voters of Kerala normally keep celebrities at an arm's length.
Though late actor Murali had unsuccessfully contested in 1999 from the Alappuzha Lok Sabha seat on the CPI(M) ticket, actor Innocent, won from Chalakudy as CPI(M) backed independent in 2011, but had to bite the dust in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Eminent film-maker Ramu Kariat whose "Chemmeen" broght Kerala its first National award in Malayalam was elected to the Assembly in 1964 from Nattika as a CPI(M) backed independent.
Actor Jagdeesh and TV star Ramesh Pisharody are not in the fray, but are busy campaigning for UDF candidates.
Meanwhile, veteran actor Devan, who recently joined the BJP after merging his 17-year-old Kerala Peoples Party with it, is campaigning for the saffron party candidates.
Jagdeesh and Devan had unsuccessfully contested Assembly polls earlier.