Lok Sabha polls: Voters coming out in large numbers raise hopes of UDF in Kerala

Kerala has stepped out in hordes to vote against the Modi government. Queues were seen in all parts of the state notwithstanding news of EVM glitches from across the state

Representative Image (PTI)
Representative Image (PTI)

Ashlin Mathew

Kerala has stepped out in hordes to vote against the Modi government. Queues were seen in all parts of the state notwithstanding news of EVM glitches from across the state. Polling percentage crossed 60% in Kannur, Kasargod, Pathanamthitta, Chalakudy, Alappuzha, Wayanad and Palakkad were all at 58%.

BJP Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam’s candidature from Ernakulam is of little consequence in the constituency. It’s a battle between CPI(M)’s P Rajeev and congress’s Hibi Eden with the latter tipped to win.

Under normal circumstances, elections in Kerala would have passed off as just another affair. But not this time around. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad in the state and that itself has made it a high-intensity battleground. This has given a boost to UDF and they hope to win more than 13 seats this time. LDF is hoping to win the rest.

But, the BJP has been dreaming of opening an account in Kerala this time around especially after they whipped up violence opposing the entry of women in Sabarimala temple. Brisk polling suggests that it is likely remain a lost hope.

The United Democratic Front has 17 Congress candidates, two Indian Union Muslim League candidates and one Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) candidate. The LDF has 16 CPI(M) candidates, two CPI candidates and two independent candidates backed by the Front. The NDA has 15 BJP candidates, four Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) candidates and a candidate of the Kerala Congress (Thomas).

In Kerala, a little over 2.61 crore people are eligible to cast their votes, with a total of 227 candidates in the fray. And by 1pm, more than one crore had cast their votes.

Wayanad has seen unusual numbers coming out to vote, mostly in favour of Rahul Gandhi. Several in the constituency had stated that they would send Rahul Gandhi to the Parliament with the highest ever majority.

Thushar Vellappally of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) is contesting against Rahul Gandhi as the NDA candidate. “I wonder if he will even get his deposit,” said a voter Sukumari.

Pathanamthitta, which is seeing a three-cornered contest between Congress-led UDF’s Anto Antony, CPI(M)-led LDF’s Veena George and BJP’s K Surendran, saw more than 52% voting by 3pm.

“Larger numbers are better for UDF. The Left has their regular voters, and now some of them will vote for BJP. It is the IDF voters who are usually reluctant to come out. These numbers indicate that they are coming out to ensure the defeat of a fascist government. They are coming out to ensure they can stay in a peaceful environment. This is a vote against Modi,” said a poll watcher in Thiruvalla, which falls under Pathanamthitta.

Pathanamthitta constituency has 13.5 lakh voters, of which usually around 9.6 lakh vote, making it a 70.5% voter turnout. Of this 56% are Hindu voters, 38% Christians and 4.6% Muslims. Neither Christians nor Muslims are likely to vote for Surendran especially after BJP’s state president P Sreedharan Pillai’s comment denigrating Muslims.

Thiruvananthapuram, which is also the ground of fierce triangular fight between the CPI’s C Divakar, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor And BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan recorded 56% until 3.30pm.

The BJP has improved its standing in the constituency significantly in the last two general elections while the Congress and the CPI have long enjoyed dominance.

Thiruvananthapuram comprises 67% Hindus, 19% Christians and 14% Muslims. Within the Hindu community, Nairs are 37% and the other communities make up 27%.

Complaints of technical glitches in voting machines were reported in several places including the state capital Thiruvananthapuram and Cherthala in Alappuzha. Both UDF and LDF workers alleged that votes cast for Congress candidate were getting registered as BJP votes in booth no 151 in Chowara.

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