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Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, Annie Raja, Sudhakaran file nominations in Kerala for LS polls

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Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 3 (PTI) Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, party leader and local MP Shashi Tharoor, KPCC Chief K Sudhakaran, state Minister K Radhakrishnan and CPI's Annie Raja were among the high profile candidates who filed their nominations on Wednesday for the April 26 Lok Sabha polls, a day before the deadline.

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Polling will be held in all of Kerala's 20 parliamentary constituencies on April 26, in the second phase of the nationwide polls, for which the last date of filing nomination papers is April 4, according to an Election Commission notification.

Many of the candidates led road shows and foot marches on the way to filing their nominations at the district headquarters, to showcase their ground support and strength.

MP Rahul Gandhi held a massive roadshow and attacked the BJP and the RSS, accusing them of "trying to destroy" the Constitution and democratic nature of India, before he filed his nomination for Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, seeking a second term from there.

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Three-time Lok Sabha MP Tharoor, a former diplomat, is seeking a fourth consecutive term from Thiruvananthapuram, while Raja is contesting against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad.

Tharoor told reporters after filing the nomination that he was sure about his victory and said the fight in Thiruvananthapuram is mainly between the Congress and the BJP.

"There is no doubt about the first place, and the only debate is who is going to be the second. Though it is considered a three-cornered fight, I think now the fight is more between the Congress and the BJP," Tharoor said.

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Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan is trying his luck in the lower house of Parliament from Alathur in Palakkad, while it is a matter of pride for Sudhakaran that he retain his present seat, Kannur.

Radhakrishnan was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues M B Rajesh and K Krishnankutty and other prominent leaders of Palakkad district when he arrived to file the nomination papers in the morning.

Braving the scorching heat, the KPCC chief led a massive roadshow in a covered vehicle, which was accompanied by a large number of party activists.

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Other prominent leaders who filed nominations today are: senior CPI(M) leader and former Health Minister K K Shailaja (Vatakara), M V Jayarajan (Kannur), BJP National Secretary Anil Antony (Pathanamthitta), former CPI MLA V S Sunilkumar (Thrissur), CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem (Kozhikode), LDF candidate K S Hamsa (Ponnani), sitting Congress MPs Rajmohan Unnithan (Kasaragod), Benny Behannan (Chalakudy) and Dean Kuriakose (Idukki), CPI(M)'s K J Shine (Ernakulam), IUML MP E T Mohammed Basheer (Malappuram), BJP's G Krishnakumar (Kollam), NDA nominee Thushar Vellappally and KC(M)'s Thomas Chazhikkadan (both Kottayam), CPI (M)'s V Joy (Attingal), and LDF's C A Arun Kumar (Mavelikkara).

CPI(M) Ernakulam candidate Shine, a first-timer in the parliamentary elections, exuded confidence that she would emerge victorious, and said her years-long experience of working at the grassroots level would help win the hearts of voters.

"The guarantee of the LDF is to ensure a socio-political and financial situation in the country to lead a peaceful life, enjoying the rights guaranteed by the Constitution," she told reporters later.

The nominations will be scrutinised on April 5. April 8 is the last date for withdrawal, the Election Commission notification said.

The Lok Sabha polls across the country are scheduled to be held in seven phases starting April 19. The counting of votes will take place on June 4. PTI LGK SA

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