LDF and UDF exude the confidence of a win

Kerala’s preoccupying wait amid a harrowing pandemic for the results of the 2021 Assembly elections would climax on counting day on Sunday.

Multiple exit poll projections aired on television channels on Friday seemed to whet the public’s anticipation of the outcome of the polls.

A majority of the pollsters have accorded the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) a definite edge over the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition. Some have predicted a close race.

The major coalitions, including the Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), seemed cautious about publicly interpreting pollster data.

Voting pattern

Nevertheless, politicians privately expressed concern about some pollsters reporting an asymmetrical voting pattern in scores of constituencies. “If true, it meant last-minute shifts in voter behaviour,” a politician said.

The spectre of cross-voting has inserted an element of uncertainness into poll calculations. It seemed to worry opposing fronts in varying degrees. The major coalitions reacted differently to the exit poll predictions.

Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener A. Vijayaraghavan refused to hazard a guess on the ruling front’s seat tally. Public opinion favoured continuity of governance.

The “absence” of an anti-incumbency sentiment had advantaged the LDF. Voters have seen through the lies and deceptions of the Congress and BJP, he claimed.

Oppn. confident

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Sunday’s results would spell the end of the Pinarayi Vijayan government. “A defeated Chief Minister is in denial,” he said on Friday.

Mr. Chennithala said voters had dashed poll predictions in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. They gave 19 out of the 20 seats to the UDF. Exit polls were, at best, superficial.

They did not have the reliability of the booth-level forecasts forwarded to the leadership by UDF agents. Internal reports indicated a UDF sweep, he said.

BJP leaders appeared to view the exit polls with a measure of smugness. Several pollsters had predicted the BJP would increase its seats in the Assembly.

More importantly, some pollsters posited the results would cement BJP’s emergence as an increasingly decisive third force in Kerala politics. BJP State vice president A. N. Radhakrishnan said the exit polls “clearly indicated” the NDA’s ascendancy in Kerala.

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