Filing of nominations for May 16 assembly elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry began on Friday and among the 122 candidates Forest Minister Tiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, former Finance Minister K M Mani and state BJP President Kummanam Rajasekharan entered the electoral fray.

K Muraleedharan, Padmaja Venugopal (both Congress) and C P John (CMP) also filed their papers. 83-year-old K M Mani, leader of Kerala Congress, who is contesting from Pala constituency, filed his papers in Kottayam. Mani, who holds the record of longest serving member of the state Assembly, had to resign from Oommen Chandy cabinet in the wake of the corruption allegations against him in the bar bribery scam.Seven nominations each were filed in Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam districts.The state, which has a 140-member assembly, saw 29 nominations on the opening day.

Tamil Nadu which has a 234-member assembly saw  DMK's Erode West Constituency candidate S Muthusamy and the party nominee TPM Moideen Khan from Palayamkottai file their nominations while three independents submitted their papers in Puducherry yesterday. 

In Tamil Nadu, AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is expected to file nomination next week from R K Nagar in Chennai while her rival DMK President M Karunanidhi is scheduled to file it on April 25 from his native Tiruvarur constituency.

Others including chief ministerial candidates of DMDK and PMK, Vijayakant and Anbumani Ramadoss respectively, and MDMK founder Vaiko are also likely to file nominations next week.

Forty-seven people have been appointed as observers during the election in Kerala where the hectic campaign is on for a three-cornered fight for the first time.Counting of votes in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, along with West Bengal and Assam, will be taken up on May 19.