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Tension mounts as results awaited

Close to half a dozen exit polls predict a sweeping victory for the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF).

india Updated: May 09, 2006 20:29 IST

Tension has been mounting in Kerala with just two days left for the counting of votes to begin as candidates and rival fronts here hope for the best.

Kerala had a staggered three-phased poll, on April 22 for 59 seats, April 29 for 66 seats and on May 3 for 15 seats.

Close to half a dozen exit polls predict a sweeping victory for the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), which is currently in the opposition.

However, the only reason for cheer for the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is a special branch police report, which says that it would win the polls by winning 76 seats.

While the CPI-M top brass met here Monday to assess the situation and concluded that the LDF would win 100 seats, the Congress party and its leaders are putting up a brave face.

"We do not believe the exit polls, instead we place our trust in the people of Kerala and we have no doubt about the result," said state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala.

And if Chennithala's hopes are to come true, then it is certainly history in the making as neither of the fronts has ever returned to power in consecutive elections in the state.

Reacting to the Times Now exit poll released on Monday night, which gave 94 seats to the LDF, economist turned CPI-M legislator Thomas Isaac said that it was on expected lines.

"The people would vote out the UDF for certain of its anti-people policies," said Isaac who is tipped to become finance minister if his front wins.

Counting of votes is to start on Thursday at 8 am in 140 counting centres across the state and by noon the entire results are expected to be out, which hopefully will put an end to all tensions.

Meanwhile, anxious candidates from the rival fronts are on tenterhooks and have turned to god for solace as visits to temples, churches and mosques have increased in the past one week.

"In just two more days, the cat would be out of the bag and I am surprised to hear contradicting reports from exit polls for the seat I contested. I have full confidence in my voters," said sitting Congress legislator Varkala Kahar who represents the Varkala constituency in the capital district.

Joining the rank of hopefuls is state Bharatiya Janata Party chief PS Sreedharan Pillai who claims his party will open its account in the assembly by winning two seats.

"These are based on field reports and we would win the Manjeswaram and Palakkad seats. The vote share of the BJP would also go up," said Pillai.

First Published: May 09, 2006 20:07 IST