Anxiety among the political leaders in Kerala has increased with exit-polls results reflecting an uncertain outcome in the State Assembly elections, and the counting of votes less than 24 hours away. Early results are expected within a few hours from the commencement of the counting at 8 am on Friday.
Those awaiting the results in the arena include Chief Minister V. S. Achuthananandan, Home Minister, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac, Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran, Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy, KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala, Muslim League Leader P. K. Kunhalikutty, Kerala Congress leader K. M. Mani, Communist Marxist Party leader M. V. Raghavan and BJP leader O. Rajagopal.
Water Resources N. K. Premachandran, Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem, Education Minister M. A. Baby, Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran, Fisheries Minister S. Sarma, Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes A. K. Balan, Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran, Labour Minister P. K. Gurudasan, Transport Minister Jose Thettayil , Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran and Ports Minister V. Surendran Pillai are also among those seeking another term in the Assembly.
Several of the Ministers are having a busy day even on Thursday as they wind up their work in the Achuthanandan Ministry. The last Cabinet meeting of the Ministry was held on Wednesday followed by a photo session and lunch even as Ministers hurried around to attend various functions.
The ruling CPI (M) led Left Democratic Front and the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front have contested in all the 140 constituencies in the State. The BJP fielded its candidates in 138 constituencies and supported a Janata Dal (United) candidate in one constituency and an independent in another.
The Indian National Congress contested against Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 59 constituencies including five of the nine constituencies contested by CPI (M)-supported independents. It took on the second largest party in the LDF, the Communist Party of India, in 17 constituencies and another constituent, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, in two constituencies.
The CPI (M) and the party supported independents fought the UDF constituents Muslim League and the Kerala Congress (Mani) in 15 and 9 constituencies respectively. The CPI and the Muslim League were pitted against each other in four constituencies. The Socialist Janata fought the CPI (M) in three constituencies and the Indian National League (INL) in one constituency.
The Janadhipatya Samrakshna Samithi fought against the CPI in three constituencies and the CPI (M) in one constituency. The Kerala Congress (B) took on the CPI (M) in two constituencies. The Communist Marxist Party was pitted against the CPI (M) in two constituencies.
Similarly, the INL and Muslim League faced each other in two constituencies.
Interestingly, there was no direct fight between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress party though they are in the opposite camps. The Congress is pitted against the Congress (S), Janata Dal (S) and the Kerala Congress (Thomas) in one constituency each. The duels between the following pairs were confined to one constituency each: KCM-CPI, JDS-ML, NCP-ML, KC (Jacob)-JDS, CMP-CPI, RSP-ML and RSP (B)-RSP.