Thiruvananthapuram, May 23 (IANS) With 35 per cent counting of votes done in Kerala, the Congress-led UDF showed lead in 19 seats while the ruling CPI-M-led LDF was all but washed out as it was ahead in just one seat. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is leading the pack with a margin of over 1.60 lakh votes.
E.P. Jayarajan, senior CPI-M cabinet minister and number two in the Pinarayi Vijayan government said what has happened in Kerala is due to religious grouping in voting patterns and it favoured the Congress-led UDF.
“This is a setback and we will look into what happened. This is not against the state government. Just look, nationally the Congress has been wiped out,” said Jayarajan.
In the 2014 polls, the CPI-M led Left won eight seats.
At present the CPI-M is leading in just one seat — Alappuzha, where sitting party legislator A.M. Arif is ahead of Congress candidate Shanimol Usman by around 4,000 votes.
While at Kasargode, Congress spokesperson Rajmohan is fighting a cliff- hanger against former CPI-M party legislator K.P. Satish Chandran, where the lead is shifting from one to the other, as each round passes and after close to 40 per cent votes was counted, Unnithan after trailing is now ahead by over 10,000 votes.
While the BJP was expecting to perform well and even win at least one seat, if not two, things at the moment do not look rosy for them as in Thiruvananthapuram, sitting Congress member Shashi Tharoor is ahead by over 16,000 votes, with BJP leader Kummanem Rajasekheran in second place.
Likewise at Pathanamthitta, where Sabarimala temple is located, after showing initial promise, BJP candidate K. Surendran, after leading for a while, slipped to third position.
Congress candidate Anto Antony at Pathanamthitta said that signs are very positive as the lead has crossed 25,000 and we are extremely confident about the outcome.
For the CPI-M the biggest shocker has come in three constituencies Palakkad, Alalathur and Attingal, all of which they have held for the past several terms.
In all these three constituencies, Congress candidates at present are sitting comfortable.
CPI’s M.B. Rajesh, aiming for a hat-trick of wins from Palakkad after his 2014 win with a margin of over one lakh votes, was seen trailing by over 23,000 votes.
All exit polls and pre-poll survey had predicted an easy victory for Rajesh. Reacting to it, Rajesh told the media: “Not just exit polls can go wrong. But its also too early to come to any conclusion and one thing what is happening is , there is a definite trend is emerging.”
Congress spokesperson Joseph Vazhakan, however is confident that it will be a clean sweep.
“It will be 20-20 for us. We are confident, we will win at both Kasargode and Alappuzha,” said Vazhakan.
At present three Congress-led UDF candidates Gandhi, P.K.Kunahlikutty of the IUML and Young Congress candidate Dean Kuriakose at the Idukki seat have leads in excess of one lakh votes.
“It was a huge support from my electorate and we are really excited that we have regained Idukki seat,” said Kuriakose.
Places where UDF candidates were leading with over 50,000 margin include Ponnani, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Alathur, Kottayam, Thrissur and Kollam constituencies.