Going by the poll surveys and other indications on the ground, the Congress has a lot to gain and very little to lose in Wednesday’s assembly elections in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
People wait outside a polling booth in the first phase of the assembly elections in 12 constituencies in Chhattisgarh, in Jagdalpur.
Even if the ADMK returns to power in Tamil Nadu in the wake of the 2G scam, which has rubbed off on the DMK, the Congress will hardly be affected as despite being an ally of the ruling party it didn’t share power.
Though there is no overwhelming factor acting in any party’s favour in Kerala, the state is unlikely to give up its 30-year-old tradition of dumping the ruling coalition after every five years.
And, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has its back to the wall because its performance has been nothing to write home about.
Also, infighting has worked to its disadvantage.
However, the good news for the LDF has been that the CPI (M) has "reinvented" its fading mascot, chief minister VS Achuthanandan (VS), who was first denied the ticket by the party. But the UDF has made inroads into north Kerala while consolidating its strong ground in the central and southern parts of the state.
In Tamil Nadu, amid widespread reports of voters being bribed, the Election Commission's tough measures have come in for praise from AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, who has asked the people to "use this opportunity to throw out corrupt one-family rule". Her aggressive confidence is not without reason. She has chosen allies who could tilt the scales in her favour.