Campaigning ends; all the three in the fray are confident of victory

Bearing the quiet suspense of a thriller, the Neyyattinkara by-election, scheduled on June 2, enters its next phase with political parties winding up the campaigning on Thursday.

There are no visible waves in favour of any particular front: all the three main rivals in the fray are confident of victory.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala said it would not be wise to peg at one figure the number of votes the UDF could possibly garner, though there was “no doubt that the UDF will win.” The UDF had held its hopes high from the beginning, and there was no change to that mood yet, said the KPCC president.

T.M. Thomas Isaac of the CPI (M) said the LDF had all possibilities of bagging around 60,000-plus votes. If not for a couple of unfortunate recent developments, it would have been a landslide victory for the LDF, he added.

Dr. Isaac felt the caste factor was being overplayed. With both the LDF and the UDF candidates belonging to one community, it would be, to some extent, Hindu votes that could emerge the deciding factor.

The BJP, he said, had trained its guns on the UDF, and not the LDF. This would result in a flow of the UDF votes to the BJP, and the LDF, with its fixed vote base, would emerge winner.

BJP's senior leader A.N. Radhakrishnan felt the situation was “very much favourable” to the BJP, with the party pinning its hopes on veteran O. Rajagopal to collect around 54,000 votes.

Voters, for now, keep a distinct silence, filling the scene with suspense that will be broken on June 15, when the votes polled will be counted.