Kerala Polls: Sparks start to fly, fireworks not far behind

With May 2, the day of judgement for the political parties in Kerala fast approaching and a week after the crucial voting for the 140-member Assembly, sparks have started to fly between them on what could be the possible final results.

Incidentally, this is perhaps the first Assembly election in which the ruling government came out with a hashtag that they will become the first government to retain office in the state. The campaign was led by none other than Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself.

Hence, contrary to the public perception about the maze of allegations flying thick and fast against the Vijayan government, the hashtag soon became the most talked about thing as many including the Congress-led Opposition leaders felt that electoral history might be re-written.

Though the Left appeared to have the initial edge, as the campaign peaked, the Congress-led UDF also was able to catch up. On the election day, the Sabarimala issue became the most talked about and when the polling ended, but the Left riding on a few pre-poll surveys expressed absolute confidence that they will rewrite electoral history in the state.

However, after the initial analysis, the Left which was riding high on presumptions now appears to be jittery, when the first sparks flew from Alappuzha district, which has always been a strong bastion of the CPI-M.

State PWD Minister G.Sudhakaran, who failed to get renominated, attacked his own party men and a section of the vernacular media in his hometown. He said that he has always been a loyal party man and has held many posts in his very long political career.

Soon a war of words was witnessed in the CPI — the second biggest ally in the ruling Left, when one of the candidates — G.R Anil, who replaced sitting party legislator C.Divakaran at the Nedumangad Assembly constituency in the capital district, accused the latter for failing to be in the forefront of the campaign.

The war of words took place during a party meeting when both, Anil and Divakaran, came face to face, and it was only after the seniors intervened, things cooled down.

In the Congress party, known for mudslinging and washing dirty linen in the public, the first shot has been fired by Kannur Lok Sabha member K. Sudhakaran demanding that there should be an overhaul in the party’s organisational structure.

Likewise in the faction ridden BJP also, things are getting hotter as the present state leadership led by state president K. Surendran with the blessings of the Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.Muraleedharan can come under duress, if they fail to retain the only seat which they won in the 2016 Assembly polls.

Moreover, these two will be put on the hot seat, when the votes at the Kazahkootam Assembly constituency are counted as their arch rival Sobha Surendran’s fate will be known on May 2.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said from the responses that have come so far it appears the ruling Left has got a feel of what’s in store and that’s why one heard that people like Sudhakaran and the otherwise reticent CPI are feeling restless.

“Definitely the pre poll surveys predicting the Left to retain power did a world of good for them and it also worked wonders for the Congress-led UDF because they were able to put more efforts in their campaign. The situation is fluid as there are a lot of undercurrents, much more than in the past. The clincher would be which front gets more votes from the minority communities. Irrespective of which front wins, one thing is certain, it’s going to be a free for all on May 2nd, as the stakes are quite high. Should the Left loose, it could well be never before scenes, one will have to see,” said the critic.