As Kerala is all set for the assembly elections that will decide the future of the state and the fate of two key political centres in the country-- Congress and the left-- here is a look at some key candidates:
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan: The Incumbent chief minister is looking to create history by becoming the first CPM chief minister to retain power. While he expected to win smoothly from Dharmadom a failure of the left front to secure victory in its only surviving stronghold in the country could mean the end for the political left in the country.
E Sreedharan: The metro man who revolutionalised India's transport infrastructure is contesting from Palakkad. Though, the CM candidate for BJP, which is still a minor power in the state, Sreedharan could rewrite Kerala's political history if he can make it to the assembly itself. (Reuters)
Ramesh Chennithala: Leader of Opposition and veteran Congress leader is fighting a two-front battle as he contests from his stronghold Haripad. Not only does he have the task of recapturing power in the state at a time when the party is facing a crisis across the country, but he will also have to retain his strength within the party at a time of tough internal challenges from various corners including from former CM Oommen Chandy. (Photo: Twitter/@chennithala)
KK Shylaja: Fondly known as 'Shailaja teacher' the state health minister, contesting from Mattannur, became a global star for her leadership against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. Though the initial euphoria has been dampened following the continuing spread of the virus the former science teacher is a crowd puller, second only to Pinarayi Vijayan. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
K Surendran: The recent ascendancy of the saffron party in the state owes a lot to its president who galvanised the Hindu community in the state against government plans to allow entry to women of all ages into Sabarimala temple. Contesting from both Manjeswaram and Konni, the leader will be hoping to change the fortunes of himself as well as BJP's. (Image: IANS)
Oommen Chandy: The forme CM and congress strongman may not have been in the front of Kerala politics for the past few years, but his decision to contest from his stronghold Puthupally constituency means that he will always be a threat to opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala's dream to become the CM even if UDF comes to power.(Image: IANS)
PK Kunhalikutty: Contesting from party stronghold Vengara, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) national General Secretary has quit his Lok sabha membership to ensure his significance in the party and party stronghold Malabar region continues without hindrance. While the official party line regarding his candidature is that the former minister has returned to state politics to strengthen the party it is not a secret that the leader is also here to ensure rivals do not hijack the party. (Image: IANS)