Left consolidates lead in Kerala as counting moves into top gear
With counting of votes in the Kerala Assembly elections picking pace, and reaching the halfway mark in many of the 140 constituencies, the indications are that the Left is set to rewrite the state's electoral history by becoming the first government to retain power
Thiruvananthapuram: With counting of votes in the Kerala Assembly elections picking pace, and reaching the halfway mark in many of the 140 constituencies, the indications are that the Left is set to rewrite the state's electoral history by becoming the first government to retain power.
According to present indications, the Left Democratic Front is leading in 93 seats while the Congress-led United Democratic Front in 44 and the BJP in three seats.
The Left's stunning performance can be attributed to no one other than Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who led from the front.
In the 2016 polls, it was party stalwart V.S. Achuthanandan who led from the front and after the Left won, Vijayan stepped in to take the Chief Minister's post, while Achuthanandan was given the post of 'Kerala Castro'.
Vijayan, despite running into numerous troubles in various issues, stood his ground and boldly went forward. His writ ran large when it came to selecting party candidates, with seven ministers and 26 legislators left out.
Meanwhile, of the 48 seats that the UDF is leading in, its second-largest constituent, the IUML is leading in 12.
Of the NDA, 'Metroman' E. Sreedharan is fighting hard and in one particular booth in his constituency Palakkad, he has got all the votes and at the moment, he is leading by around 5000 votes.
Looking at the overall picture, it now appears that the Left is maintaining the same ground as in 2016, when they won 91 seats.
However, its new ally Kerala Congress-Mani's leader Jose K.Mani, son of late legendary K.M. Mani whose party was in the Congress-led UDF till last year before switching over to the LDF, was trailing badly by over 10,000 votes in Pala, represented by his father for over half a century.
What will be painful for him is a few of the other candidates from his party are leading.
State Power Minister M.M. Mani, who won the 2016 polls with a slender margin of around 1000 votes, is now leading by a huge margin of 20,000 votes and said this result was on the cards "as there has never been a better government in the state than Vijayan's".
The pattern right from the start of the counting of votes was the UDF was unable to move above the 60 seat mark and in many of these constituencies, it is leading with a slender margin and if it continues, then there could be more shocks and the Left might well end up with 100 seats or more.