After Kerala records highest voting in 30 years, all parties claim edge
The Left Front, Congress and the BJP claim that Kerala’s highest voter turnout in the Lok Sabha elections in 30 years will help them win more seats .Updated: Apr 24, 2019 19:33 IST
As Kerala recorded highest polling in Lok Sabha elections in recent times (77.68%), the two traditional rivals in the state – Congress and the Left - claimed that it will help them pocket more seats. The BJP which is trying to establish itself as a major player in Kerala is also pinning its hopes on the high turnout to convert into seats.
The polling was the highest in 30 years after 79.03% in 1989. Tuesday ‘s figure was a four per cent rise compared to last election tally (73.6% in 2014 LS poll). Poll statistics show that this time women came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.
While the Congress feels that party president Rahul Gandhi’s sudden entry in Wayanad did wonders for it, the BJP thinks that high turnout was in favour of its Sabarimala stir but the ruling Left Front believes that it was a mandate for the secular government’s performance.
The highest polling was recorded in Kannur 83.05% and lowest in Thiruvananthapuram 73.45% where sitting Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is locked in a fierce triangular contest. Wayanad, which found itself in the limelight after Gandhi’s candidature, saw its highest polling ever at 80.31% since the constituency was formed ten years ago. Eight constituencies out of 20 recorded more than 80% polling for the first time.
“The UDF is inching towards a grand victory. Rahul Gandhi’s candidature had ripple effect in all 20 constituencies of the state. High polling is a natural reply to CM Pinarayi’s adamant posture on many issues,” said senior Congress leader A K Antony adding even Christians were upset with the state regime.
But the BJP said large turnout was a symbol of protest against those who trampled upon the faith of believers of Sabarimala. “We are confident we will do wonder this time,” said BJP president P S Sreedharan Pillai.
Howeve,r the CPI(M)-led LDF said it will improve its tally this time. In 2014 the Congress-led UDF had won 12 seats while the Left Democratic Front won the remaining eight.
“High polling shows people support the renaissance movement being initiated by the government. We are sure the performance of 2004 when LDF swept the poll, will be repeated in 2019,” said CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Political observers say the emotional Sabarimala issue is one of the reasons for high voter turnout in the state. The state had witnessed violent protests after the September 28 Supreme Court verdict which allowed women of all ages to worship at the temple. Observers believe Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad also boosted high turnout in many constituencies especially in north Kerala.
“The high polling will help the Congress-led UDF than anyone else,” said senior journalist and political commentator Sunnykutty Abraham.