Exit polls give it to Left in Kerala | india | Hindustan Times
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Exit polls give it to Left in Kerala

For the first time, the IUML faces a stiff challenge from the CPM in the Muslim heartland of Malappuram.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 14:54 IST

Brisk polling was reported in the second phase of voting that covered 66 central Kerala constituencies on Saturday.

Long queues, particularly of women voters, were seen outside almost all polling booths during the closing hours. An estimated 68 per cent of the 10.6 million-electorate cast their votes on Saturday.

Unlike earlier occasions, some Muslim-dominated constituencies of Malappuram as well as CM-aspirant VS Achuthanandan's seat of Malampuzha witnessed heavy turnouts.

Nine ministers of the Oommen Chandy government, Democratic Indira Congress president K Muralidharan and Muslim League general secretary PK Kunajlikutty are the prominent contestants in this round.

In the 2001 assembly elections, the UDF had won 50 seats from these constituencies, which stretch from the port city of Kochi to the hills of Wayand in the north. But this time round, the CPM-led Left Democratic Front has a clear edge in the second phase.

For the first time, the Indian Union Muslim League faces a stiff challenge from the CPM in the Muslim heartland of Malappuram.

The League, however, can take sol ace from the heavy turnout that could help stave off some of the challenges posed by the opponents.

However, Left leaders are equally happy with the big turnout, claiming that it would be advantageous for them. In the month-long frenzied campaigning here, international issues like Iran and the nuclear treaty with the US had edged out local issues.

After casting his vote in Ponnani, LDF convener Paloli Muhammedkutty said the coalition would register an emphatic win in the second round. However, DIC leader K Karunakaran claimed in Thrissur that the UDF would bounce back to power.

Meanwhile, two different exit polls conducted by popular Malayalam TV channels gave a clear edge to the LDF in the second round. According to Asianet, the UDF would get 18-25 seats. Indiavision put the UDF tally at 19 and the LDF's at 47.

The Asianet poll said the LDF would get 49 per cent votes and the UDF 43. The BJP is not likely to make an entry into the assembly this time as well, Asianet poll said.

The AC-Nielsen survey, conducted by three-team members in selected segments, predicted 47 seats for LDF and 19 for UDF in the second phase, while it says BJP will not open its account.