Kerala

Parties keep fingers crossed

The overall polling percentage reported by Pathanamthitta, which came down from 71.66 in 2016 to 67.18 this time, has got political rivals - United Democratic Front, Left Democratic Front and the National Democratic Alliance - guessing its ramifications on the poll prospects.

While each side is trying to claim that their voters have turned out, there exists a school of thought that the falling polling percentage was indicative of the deep-seated public disengagement from politics.

Detailed review

The parties, meanwhile, are awaiting booth-level figures to hold a detailed review of the trend.

While the total polling percentage itself was the lowest among all districts in the State, a segment-wise analysis showed that even Konni, which had witnessed one of the most high-voltage electioneering led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported a fall in percentage from 73.04 to 71.42.

Support base

The CPI(M), which is the leading partner of the LDF claimed that their core support base was politically alert and turned up in huge numbers to suggest that the low percentage should worry the rival fronts.

The voting percentage recorded the sharpest fall in Pathanamthitta and Thiruvalla, which can be attributed to a friction within the UDF and the NDA over the selection of candidates, said K.P. Udayabhanu, CPI(M) district secretary.

The UDF leaders, on the other hand, appeared unfazed by the fall in percentage as the actual number of voters stood much higher than in 2016.

“The strong urge for a regime change among the voters was so strong that majority of the electorate performed the exercise in the morning hours itself. The trend sent the LDF into a panic mode, forcing them to unleash violence against UDF workers and candidates in several locations,” held Babu George, president of the District Congress Committee.

The NDA, meanwhile, appeared less enthusiastic about engaging in a number-game post polling and held that the parties did not put up enough work to draw the voters to the booths. “The lack of enthusiasm among the voters were visible right through the period of campaigning and the COVID-19 appears to have played a role,” observed Ashokan Kulanada, district president of the Bharatiya Janata Party .

Though anti-incumbency and Sabarimala were the two key factors highlighted by the UDF and the NDA to determine the final outcome, their reasoning does not explain the sharp fall this time.

Sharp jump

For instance, the voter turnout in the region recorded a sharp jump of eight percent during the 2019 Parliament election, which had been primarily fought over the Sabarimala issue.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 10:37:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/parties-keep-fingers-crossed/article34266919.ece

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