Over 9.57 lakh voters of Kerala are expected to cast their votes in the bye-polls to be held to five Assembly constituencies on Monday, October 21.
The polling, being held in 896 polling stations, has begun at 7 am and will end at 6 pm.
The constituencies that are going for the bye-polls are Vattiyoorkkavu in Thiruvananthapuram, Manjeswram in Kasaragod, Ernakulam, Konni in Pathanamthitta, and Aroor in Alappuzha.
Sitting MLAs K Muraleedharan (Vattiyoorkkavu), AM Ariff (Aroor), Adoor Prakash (Konni) and Hibi Eden (Ernakulam) had been elected to the Lok Sabha. The Manjeswaram seat fell vacant due to the death of siting MLA PB Abdul Razak.
All the five seats except Aroor are the sitting seats of the United Democratic Front. While Abdul Razak was the MLA of the Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League, the other three were Congress MLAs. Ariff is the only one that won from the Left Democratic Front, in the total 20 Lok Sabha (LS) seats in the state.
The constituencies witnessed rigorous campaigning, with the two fronts and the BJP-led NDA viewing the bye-poll as an indicator to the elections to be held in 2021.
In the bye-polls held for Pala constituency on September 23, the Left had captured the seat from the UDF citadel. The victory revitalised the LDF camp and this was evident from its campaigning witnessed for the bye-elections.
Thiruvananthapuram mayor VK Prasanth is the CPI(M) candidate for the Vattiyoorkkavu constituency which witnessed a tough triangular fight. District President Advocate S Suresh is the BJP candidate while former District Congress Committee President K Mohankumar was the choice of the Congress.
While Sankar Ray has been picked by the CPI (M) for Manjeswaram in the northern-most district of Kasargode, the party has backed Manu Roy as an independent candidate for Ernakulam. Manu C Pulikkal is the candidate for the CPI (M) for Aroor while Janeesh Kumar has been fielded in Konni.
Shanimol Usman is the Congress candidate for Aroor, TJ Vinod for Ernakulam and P Mohanraj for Konni. MS Kamarudeen is the IUML candidate for Manjeswaram.
K Surendran, BJP state general secretary, who grabbed attention during the protest against young women entry into Sabarimala temple, is the party candidate for Konni. He was the candidate for the Pathanamthitta constituency in the LS polls. Yuvamorcha state president Prakash Babu is the candidate for Aroor, Ravisha Thantri Kuntar for Manjeswaram and CG Rajagopal for Ernakulam.