Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 6 Key Characters To Watch Out For In Kerala

As the God’s own country prepares to vote and elect their leaders tomorrow, Outlook lists six interesting contestants of the race.

NurPhoto via Getty Images
Political posters are being displayed for the upcoming Lok Sabha 2024 election in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kerala is slated to vote in the second phase of Lok Sabha (LS) elections on April 26, 2024. The state has been in news for its unique electoral fight where the two main political contenders are part of the same national alliance called INDIA. As the God’s own country prepares to vote and elect their leaders tomorrow, Outlook lists six interesting contestants of the race for its readers.

Rahul Gandhi: The Prodigal Son of the Grand Old Party

The former Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, is contesting from Wayanad constituency the second time. In the 2019 elections he had garnered more than 60% vote share in the constituency which is considered a safe seat for Congress. He also lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Smriti Irani in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh the second seat he was in the running for.

Gandhi has been the target of BJP’s ridicule for not returning to Amethi constituency which was a certain win for the family till 2019. This time around as well he is being provoked by the BJP to fight the sitting Member of Parliament and Union minister, Smriti Irani in Amethi again. The party hasn’t declared its candidate from the constituency which is keeping many on the edge of their seats.

Gandhi has gone an image makeover in the last few years, especially with the help of two almost pan-India yatras that he led for his party last year. During the yatras and now while campaigning for the elections, he has been raising issues like caste census, social justice and unemployment.

Annie Raja: Women’s Movement Leader Fighting Against Rahul Gandhi

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and general secretary of National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) is contesting against Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad. She is a veteran leader of women’s movement in India. She has been part of the communist movement since her university days. She even called out fellow communist leaders in matters of women’s dignity and security.

KK Shailaja: The Corona Slayer

K.K. Shailaja, or Shailaja teacher as she is called by her admirers, is a senior leader of the Communist Party of India Marxist [CPI (M)]. She was a school teacher for 23 years before joining electoral politics. She is contesting from the Vadakara LS constituency. She was Kerala’s Health Minister during two virus outbreaks – Nipah and Covid. She was praised widely for handling the both situations efficiently. Particularly, during COVID pandemic, for her management to curb the spread as much as possible and provide healthcare to the infected, The Guardian called her “Coronavirus Slayer”. In 2020, she was honoured by the United Nations for her efforts to mitigate the corona virus outbreak in the state.

Thomas Isaac: From Heading Kerala’s Coffer to ED Summons

CPI(M) senior leader and former finance minister of Kerala, Dr. Travancore Mathew Thomas Isaac, is in the race from Pathanamthitta LS seat, a constituency where left has never won. Although in his political career Isaac has never lost a state assembly election but it will be interesting to see how he fares in his maiden match for the big league this time, that too from an uncertain seat. He has reportedly authored more than 50 books.

Isaac has also been in news recently for his alleged involvement in the Masala Bond scam; the Enforcement Directorate has issued many summonses to him in the case. The matter is subjudice, however, his party has called the case part of the serial attack on opposition in the country by the centre.

Shashi Tharoor: The Man of Many Difficult Words

Shashi Tharoor is a diplomat turned politician, contesting from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency for the fourth time. He entered electoral politics in 2009 from the same seat and was considered “elite outsider” but he won by a margin of almost one lakh votes. Throor has witnessed many personal and political controversies from the investigation of death of his second wife to allegations of misusing office to get Indian Premier League (IPL) shares. He had to resign from his ministerial post for the later.

Tharoor is known to introduce the sometime mundane Indian politics with words which make even the seasoned linguists to reach for the dictionary. He also tries to give his contributions in building the Congress’ brand of Hindu identity; he wrote Why I Am A Hindu in 2018.

Rajeev Chandrashekhar: Chip Maker to Minister of State

Rajeev Chandrashekhar is being considered the BJP’s strong bet to open their tally in the southern state, he is contesting against Shashi Tharoor. A malayali born in Gujarat, Chandrashekhar entered the media business in 2006 through investment in the Asianet Communications Limited. In 2016, he also invested heavily in the holding company of Republic TV. He later diluted his share holding in the company before being elected as member of Rajya Sabha in 2018.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in Kerala High Court by a Congress leader accusing Chandrashekhar of omitting his assets in the affidavit filed for his candidature in general elections 2024. The petition alleged that he did not mention luxury cars and private jet owned by him. The petition was dismissed by the court on April 23.