BJP gung ho over exit poll predictions for Kerala

KPM Basheer Kochi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 17, 2016

Surveys say party set to open account in State, alliance with BDJS has helped its cause

The BJP in Kerala is visibly excited with exit poll surveys predicting that the party will, finally, be able to open its account in the State. All surveys point to the the BJP-led NDA coalition winning at least one seat — one even says its tally might go up to twelve. The surveys indicate that it is the BJP’s strategic alliance with Ezhava party BDJS that will help the party break into the Assembly.

‘A breakthrough’

“The number of seats is immaterial,” a senior BJP leader told BusinessLine. “What matters is that after so many Assembly elections we have contested in Kerala, we will be able to get a foothold in the Assembly.”

Even one seat would be a huge morale booster for the NDA, he said.

However, the leader who was involved in getting the BDJS onboard said he expected to win “upwards of five seats”. He claimed the NDA would be the runner-up in “at least a third of the constituencies”.

UDF puts up a brave face

However, despondency and disbelief are clearly visible in the UDF camps as three of the four surveys have predicted an LDF win. But top UDF leaders have put up a brave front and claimed that the surveys had got it all wrong.

Kerala PCC) President VM Sudheeran told the media that the UDF would secure a decent majority and would continue in power. He complained that ‘undue importance’ was being given to the exit polls.

Sudheeran also said the contest had, in the last phase of the campaign, become a Congress-versus-BJP battle.

KM Mani, leader of the Kerala Congress (Mani) and former Finance Minister in the Oommen Chandy government, claimed the UDF would secure 75 seats and retain power.He said he was certain to be re-elected from his Pala constituency. Excise Minister K Babu also said he would win his Thrippunithura constituency and that the UDF would return to power. One exit poll survey had showed Mani and Babu, both accused of taking bribes in the bar scandal, losing their seats.

Left upbeat

The LDF camps are expectedly overjoyed at the exit poll predictions. While three surveys have predicted an LDF win, one survey says it will be two seats short of majority. One survey has gone to the extent of predicting that the LDF’s tally could even cross 100 in the 140-member Assembly.

Former CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat told the media that he was confident that the LDF would win 85 seats.

The party’s star campaigner VS Achuthanandan said that had there been no ‘BJP-UDF understanding’ the LDF would win 100 seats.

Meanwhile, in view of the pro-LDF predictions, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury will arrive in Thiruvananthapuram on May 20, a day after the results come out, to discuss formation of an LDF government.

Published on May 17, 2016
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