Curtain down on Kerala poll drive

Curtain down on Kerala poll drive
HRD Minister Smriti Irani at a campaign of Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan in Trivandrum on Saturday.

Trivandrum - The stakes are very high for all the three fronts led by the Congress, the Communist Party of India - Marxist and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the election.



By TK Devasia

Published: Sun 15 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 15 May 2016, 10:05 AM

The high voltage campaign for the May 16 assembly elections in the southern Indian state of Kerala came to an end on Saturday without signs of any major wave in favour of any of the three political combinations.
The stakes are very high for all the three fronts led by the Congress, the Communist Party of India - Marxist and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the election.
Congress, which has lost several states after the BJP-led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014, needs a victory in Kerala for its revival at the national level.
The CPM also cannot afford a defeat as it would further marginalise the party in the national politics. The BJP, which has not won seat in the assembly or Lok Sabha since it entered the poll fray in 1982, cannot fancy to gain a foothold in the southern state of the country if it misses its biggest chance to open its account in the assembly this time.
Though the BJP-led NDA has forced strong triangular contests in several seats, the fight is still between the Cong-led UDF and the CPM-led opposition LDF.
Pre-poll surveys indicate a neck and neck race between the two traditional rivals despite strong triangular contests in several constituencies.
Though a couple of murders had rocked the state before the announcement of the poll, the campaign passed off peacefully without any untoward incidents.
A total of 26.1 million voters are expected to cast their votes to elect 140 members to the assembly on May 16.
A total of 1,203 candidates are in the fray. Of this 109 are women. - news@khaleejtimes.com
The last leg of poll campaign saw an unprecedented number of national leaders of all the three combinations making a beeline to the state. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his party president Amt Shah and nearly a dozen federal ministers campaigned for the BJP, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and senior leaders A K Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad batted for the UDF.
The CPI (M) also fielded general secretary Sitaram Yechury, former general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI national secretary Sudhakar Reddy, Tripura Chief Minister Nirpuan Chakravorty, former Prime Minister Deva Gowda and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for canvassing votes for the LDF.


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