Lok Sabha elections 2024: Kerala to go for polling in the second phase on April 26

The votes will be counted on June 4 across India for all states.
Lok Sabha elections 2024: Kerala to go for polling in the second phase on April 26
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The Election Commission of India, on Saturday, March 16, announced that the polls for the 18th Lok Sabha election will be held in Kerala on 26 April. The election will be held in seven phases and Kerala goes to poll as part of the second phase. The votes will be counted on June 4 and the ECI has mandated the election to be completed by June 6. The last date for filing nominations is April 4 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 8.

In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) had won 19 of the total 20 seats in the 2019 general elections. Of this, 15 were won by the Indian National Congress (INC) and the remaining by its alliance parties. One seat was won by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Alappuzha after Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate AM Aariff defeated Congress’ Shanimol Usman by a margin of 10,474 votes. 

In 2024, the Congress has decided to field 14 of the 15 incumbent MPs for the polls. The party has made some unexpected changes, such as dropping the sitting MP of Thrissur TN Prathapan after he started his poll campaign. 

Thrissur is among the few constituencies in Kerala that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes to win. Veteran Congress leader and former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran’s daughter Padmaja Venugopal, who earlier contested from Thrissur, had recently switched to the BJP. A three-way battle is expected in the constituency between Padmaja’s brother and Congress leader K Muraleedharan, LDF’s VS Sunilkumar, and BJP’s star candidate Suresh Gopi. 

Meanwhile, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi will once again contest from Wayanad against the Communist Party of India’s (CPI) Annie Raja. In the 2019 polls, Rahul won with a high margin and secured 64.67% vote share.

Vadakara constituency will witness the battle of two incumbent MLAs with Congress’ Shafi Parambil taking on former Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja. Shafi Parambil, who edged out BJP’s E Sreedharan in the 2021 Assembly polls by a margin of 3,859 votes in Palakkad, was received with a rousing reception in Vadakara on March 10. Even though Vadakara is a UDF sitting seat, Shailaja's popularity is expected to have a significant impact in the polls.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the UDF with their alliance parties, secured around 47.48% vote share, including INC’s 37.48%, Indian Union Muslim League’s (IUML) 5.48%, Kerala Congress (Mani)’s [KC(M)] 2.08%, and Revolutionary Socialist Party’s (RSP) 2.46%. LDF secured a 25.97 % vote share. Even though the BJP could not win any seat, they gathered around 15% of the vote share.

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