National

It is anybody’s game in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 04, 2021

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan   -  R S Iyer

However, pre-poll surveys suggest the Pinarayi-led LDF govt could be back

The grand finale to the Assembly poll campaign in Kerala was banned by the Election Commission based on a request by the State’s Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena, ruling out what would have been a pulsating end to one of the acrimonious campaigning on show in recent times .

Early bird advantage

However, that’s not the only outstanding feature about the campaigns carried out by the Left Democratic Front (LDF)-led government, main Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the single-day elections on Tuesday.

The near absence of anti-incumbency against the LDF government under Pinarayi Vijayan, and the organisational strength of the major partner CPI(M) coupled with its early call on and business-like approach to candidate selection seemed to give it an early bird advantage in the campaign sweepstakes.

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Putting up a brave front

The embattled Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Mullappally Ramachandran managed to put up a brave front saying that the ‘generational change’ effected in the choice of candidates will keep the party in good stead.

As much as 55 per cent of the candidates are new faces, including a lot of youngsters.

A number of pre-poll surveys have suggested in a chorus that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government could possibly return for a rare second term in the State. But at the end of the campaign period on Sunday, it would appear that the UDF has not only been able to catch its breath but also cover a lot of lost ground.

BJP flags Sabarimala issue

The BJP hopes to increase its vote share in Kerala by four to five percentage points, and banks on the huge mobilisation following the tour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to name a few of the bigwigs who have campaigned here.

The party has played the emotive Sabarimala card to the hilt this time and even managed to get Modi address a humongous crowd in Pathanamthitta, home to the hill shrine.

But it is a moot point how the electorate would choose to act after it looked the other way when the crisis was at its peak a couple of years ago.

Published on April 04, 2021

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