227 candidates in fray for LS polls from Kerala

A total of 227 candidates, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, are in the fray for the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala which goes to the polls in the third phase on April 23.

While Wayanad constituency, from where Rahul is contesting, received 20 nominations, the highest, the lowest number of six candidates are in Alathur (SC), Election Commission sources said.

Sixteen candidates withdrew their nominations on Monday, the last day of withdrawal.

Union Tourism minister Alphons Kannamthanam, former Mizoram governor Kummanam Rajashekharan, 13 sitting MPs, 9 MLAs, two Malayalam film actors-- Suresh Gopi and Innocent, are among those contesting.

Alphons is contesting from the Ernakulam constituency, where he is pitted against Hibi Eden of the Congress-UDF and P. Rajeev of the ruling CPI(M)-LDF.

Former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, a two-time Congress MP, is trying his luck again from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, where he is facing a fierce triangular contest from BJP's Kummanam Rajashekaran, and CPI's C. Divakaran.

A third gender candidate is in the fray in the Ernakulam constituency.

There are 2,61,46,853 voters in the state-- 1,26,81,992 men, 1,34,64,688 women and 173 third gender voters.

(with news agency inputs)