Kerala

Kerala Assembly Elections | Surveys buoy LDF, but UDF, NDA undeterred

A water rally is taken out by fish workers as part of the election campaign of E.T. Tyson, the LDF candidate for Kaipamangalam, on March 25, 2021. Around 30 small and big boats participated in the rally from Kaipamangalam to the Azhikode jetty in Thrissur.   | Photo Credit: K.K. Najeeb

With 10 days of hard campaigning to spare, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is approaching the home stretch of the 2021 Assembly elections with favourable poll predictions that arguably place the ruling front on the path to a second term in power.

However, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) appear undeterred. They argue that the pollsters have attempted to stack the decks in favour of the LDF. The firms have concluded the random surveys well before the candidate announcement and manifesto declaration. The samplings are no barometer of public opinion.

Both the UDF and the NDA are struggling to put the unfavourable news-cycle behind them. Their leaders have segued into attacking the government on the Sabarimala issue and the UAE gold smuggling case with renewed vigour.

The UDF and the NDA have sensed a political opportunity in the Nair Service Society leadership’s perceived antipathy to the LDF on the emotive issue relating to the entry of women of childbearing age into the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.

The NSS has repeatedly said the LDF attempt to seek a consensus on the Sabarimala issue is ‘too little and too late.’ The UDF and NDA manifestos promise a law to protect the Sabarimala faith. They vow to revoke the LDF government’s affidavit backing the entry of women of all age groups to worship at the temple. BJP national executive member Sobha Surendran has made it the central plank of her campaign against Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran in Kazhakuttam.

Ire on the coast

The LDF is reportedly finding itself on the back foot in coastal localities. Congress’ campaign against the government’s alleged move to allow foreign trawlers to raid the high seas preserved for traditional fishers appears to have resonated strongly among the coastal community.

The Latin rite of the Catholic Church has given voice to the fishers’ disquiet about the controversial scheme. Traditional fishers are a crucial demographic in Kerala.

The BJP’s electioneering is sharply focussed on the ‘rising threat of Islamism’ and a law against ‘love jihad.’ It feels the issues resonate among the Christian community, which has flagged the issue in pastoral letters.

The LDF, on its part, feels the Opposition’s recriminatory campaigning had made little headway against the government in the local body polls. It foresees a continuation of the trend in the Assembly polls.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 1:25:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/surveys-buoy-ldf-but-udf-nda-undeterred/article34164044.ece

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