Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 10 (): Kerala’s 24 million voters will decide today on whether they should plump for Congress-led UDF or CPM-led LDF.
Yet another question raised is whether BJP will win at least one seat. At the end of a long, bitter electoral campaign, the CPM backed actor Innocent had actor Suresh Gopi in his road show day before. UDF had 16 MPs and LDF four. Opinion polls say that UDF tally will come down. No poll has said that BJP will win. It has an edge in the capital and in Kasaragod. The poll outcome is taken to be a referendum of the Congress-led UDF ministry.
The campaign was marked by Congress raking up the murder of Left leader TP Chandrasekharan. The Left raised the million-rupee solar scam and created a fear among settlers over the ecology report of the Western Ghats. National leaders of both parties who campaigned in Kerala, included the prime minister, spoke on these issues. A usually soft spoken Antony in his speeches said that CPM will be reduced to a dozen after the LS poll on a national level.
CPM’s disgruntled Opposition leader VS unlike the Assembly polls took an active role in campaign and entertained the crowds with his wit and presented a unity in ranks. Kerala’s bitter Lok Sabha battle is in Kollam, where MA Baby CPI-M politburo member is pitted against NK Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.
RSP, an ally of CPM nationally decided to field a candidate against Baby. O Rajagopal of BJP is pitted against high-flying Shashi Tharoor and CPI’s Bennet. Bennet claims to have his Christian Nadar voters behind him and BJP stakes claim to Hindu votes. This leaves Tharoor in trouble.
The decision of the Kerala CPI-M to field non-party candidates for five seats out of the 15 constituencies it has been allotted has been termed as paid seats as these candidates are said to be crorepatis. Kerala has 12,570,439 women voters out of the 24,251,942 voters.
Despite these figures, there are only 27 women candidates out of 242 contestants. Narendra Modi said that CPM and Congress are indulging in matchfixing and said that Kerala’s coastline can produce enough salt that can be exported.