Kerala gears up for Assembly poll results

Arrangements for counting taking place at a college in Palakkad on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Kerala is bracing itself for the outcome of the Assembly elections on Sunday.

The counting for 140 Assembly constituencies will commence at 8 a.m. at 633 centres across the State. The enumeration of votes will cap a tumultuous election year stamped by a global pandemic and economic downturn.

The counting for the 2021 Assembly elections is unlike any other in the State’s history. The celebratory atmosphere that marks the tallying of votes will be conspicuously absent due to the COVID-19 ban on public jubilation.

Party workers will confine displays of triumph and despair largely indoors. The tabulation of votes will take more time, given the many postal ballots. The long wait for the results since polling day on April 6 has put political parties on tenterhooks.

Pre-poll and post-poll surveys had given the Left Democratic Front (LDF) a lead over the Congress-led United Democratic Front (LDF) Opposition.

However, the UDF has stiffly contested the poll predictions. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said opinion polls were no bellwether of voter behaviour. Pollsters had based their projection on the opinion of 250 voters in a 2.5 lakh Assembly segment.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hoped to supplant Congress as the main Opposition in Kerala and has predicted an increase in its vote share and seat tally. It has not publicly contested the exit poll findings.

Despite the vivid displays of confidence, several politicians felt the electoral picture remained foggy. The counting was likely to be a nail biter. They pointed out the campaign was deeply polarising, given the emphasis on the Sabarimala issue.

Questions remained whether identity politics had prevailed over broad-based party loyalties. There were reports of cross-voting undercurrents partly fuelled by regional and caste sentiment and intra-party rivalries.

The Central investigation into the UAE consulate linked gold smuggling case had accorded the Congress and BJP sensational plotlines to assail the LDF government.

The ruling front had campaigned on welfarism. The appeal of national leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, were also at play at the hustings, they said.

An estimated 74.06% of Kerala’s 2.74 crore electorate had voted on April 6. Election officials rehearsed the enumeration process to check for last-minute glitches on Saturday.

Newspaper websites and television channels are poised to relay the ups and downs of the counting process in real-time.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 3:30:21 PM |

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