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Seat of power deserted in Kerala

Pre-poll surveys have predicted that the Oppn LDF will win close to 100 seats in the Kerala assembly.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 17:53 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The usually busy state secretariat looked conspicuously deserted on Friday as Kerala readied for the second phase of assembly polls in six districts on Saturday.

The secretariat houses the offices of ministers. Even the office of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was near empty with just a few staff members discussing the outcome of the polls.

Interrupting their discussion was 75-year-old Sohra, who wailed and pleaded with Chandy's personal staff to come to her rescue, saying the police were troubling her over her son.

"Please call up the Poonthura police station and tell then not to harass us," cried Sohra. "If our chief minister had been here he would have helped me."

Chandy's office receives several calls, most people wanting to know if he will come back to power.

"Sir (chief minister) is very confident that the (Congress-led) UDF (United Democratic Front) would win nearly 75 seats," a personal aide of Chandy said.

But the sense of optimism is not shared by all employees at the secretariat. In fact, that is certainly not the buzz in the coffee shop and corridors.

Pre-poll surveys have come as a shot in the arm for the opposition, said one employee.

Said another: "The political scenario in the state is fluid."

Pre-poll surveys have predicted that the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) will win close to 100 seats in the 140-member Kerala assembly.

First Published: Apr 28, 2006 17:53 IST