22 candidates in BJP’s first list for Kerala assembly polls

Thiruvananthapuram, March 13 (IANS) The BJP on Sunday released its first list of 22 candidates for the May 16 Kerala assembly elections, which includes veteran O. Rajagopal and newly-appointed state unit president Kummanem Rajasekheran.

Former state BJP presidents, including P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, C.K. Padmanabhan, P.K. Krishna Das and V. Muraleedharan, also figure in the first list.

The BJP is yet to win entry to the 140-member assembly.

In the 2011 assembly polls, three Bharatiya Janata Party candidates came second in their respective segments, while the party’s nominees in all other constituencies were distant third.

The first BJP list for the coming assembly polls was released after a daylong meeting of party office-bearers. The seat-sharing with BJP’s new ally — Hindu Ezhava leader Vellapalli Natesan’s Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) — is still not finalised.

The BDJS joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance on March 3.

The BJP will field state party spokesperson George Kurien against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who has been representing the Puthupally constituency in Kottayam district since 1970.

Rajagopal, a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, has been fielded from Nemom in the Thiruvanthapuram district. He finished second in the 2011 polls.

During by-elections in 2012 (Neyattinkara) and 2015 (Aruvikara), he finished third and was runner-up for the Thiruvananthapuram seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

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