NEW DELHI, March 22 � Union Minister Praful Patel and former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari were among the prominent candidates to enter the poll fray today as the filing of nominations closed for 93 Lok Sabha constituencies in 18 States, including all the seats in Delhi, Haryana and Kerala, reports PTI.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP fielded Hukum Singh and Bhartendu Singh, both accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots, from the Kairana and Bijnor seats respectively. The party replaced Rajendra Singh with Bhartendu at the last minute in Bijnor, where the RLD�s Jaya Prada is also contesting.
In Maharashtra, where the nominations closed for 10 seats, NCP leader Patel filed his papers for the Bhandara-Gondia seat. Gadkari filed nominations from Nagpur along with AAP leader Anjali Damania. Maharashtra Minister for Social Justice Shivajirao Moghe entered the contest from Yavatmal.
Two-time Congress MP and the Haryana Chief Minister�s son, Deepinder Singh Hooda filed his nomination from the Rohtak Parliamentary constituency in Haryana. Nominations closed for all the 10 seats in the State and seven in Delhi.
In Kerala, over 250 nominations, including by Independents, have been filed in 20 constituencies across the State. Scrutiny will take place on March 24 and the last date for withdrawal is March 26.
The Congress-led UDF and the LDF are contesting all the constituencies. The fledgling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also fielded candidates in most seats, including noted writer Sarah Joseph in Thrissur, journalist Anita Pratap in Ernakulam and former IPS officer Ajit Joy in Thiruvananthapuram.
Among the Congress candidates in the fray are five Union ministers � Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), KV Thomas (Ernakulam), Mullapally Ramachandran (Vatakara), Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikkara) and KC Venugopoal (Alappuzha).
Other key Congress nominees are PC Chacko (Chalakkudi), State Youth Congress president Dean Kuriakose (Idukki) and Mahila Congress leader Bindhu Krishna (Attingal).
SJD leader and former Union minister MP Veerendrakumar is contesting from Palakkad as the UDF nominee.
E Ahamed, Union minister and IUML leader, is seeking his sixth bid to the Parliament from the party bastion, Malappuram.
Prominent CPI(M) contestants include the party�s polit bureau member MA Baby (Kollam) and sitting MPs P Karunakaran (Kasargod), MB Rajesh (Palakkad), PK Biju (Alathur) and A Sampath (Attingal).
Independents roped in by the LDF include veteran cine actor and humorist Innoncent (Chalakkudi) and former IAS officer Christie Fernandes.
Four candidates were in the fray in Mizoram�s lone Lok Sabha seat which will go to the polls on April 9.
Robert Romawia Royte of the United Democratic Front (UDF), the eight-party Opposition alliance, and an Independent nominee, Vanlalngaia, filed their nominations today. Ruling Congress nominee CL Ruala and candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party M Lalmanzuala had filed their nominations on Thursday.
In Arunachal Pradesh, violence erupted on the last day of nomination filing when supporters of a candidate vandalised the District Electoral Office at Koloriang, the headquarters of the remote Kurung Kumey district. Police fired seven rounds in the air to disperse the mob, but no one was hurt.