Kerala civic polls | What is in store in second phase

High voter turnout expected in second phase
The rush of voters at the polling booth in St Mary's LP School, Athirampuzha, Kottayam, on Thursday during phase 2 of the Kerala local body polls. Photo: Harilal/Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The rival political fronts in Kerala hope the satisfactory voter turnout witnessed in the first phase of civic polls in Kerala a couple of days ago will be repeated by the electorate in the five districts which are voting in the second leg on Thursday.

The voting percentage in the first phase indicated that despite the Covid pandemic and persisting curbs people came out in large numbers to exercise their democratic right.

In 2015 the poll percentage in Ernakulam, Palakkad and Wayanad was over 80 per cent and this raises the hopes for better voter turnout this time around.

Apart from Ernakulam, Palakkad and Wayanad, Kottayam, Thrissur, and Wayanad districts go to polls today.

What is in store in second phase

In the first phase, three of the five district panchayats that went to poll were with the LDF. Of the five district panchyats that are going to polls Thursday, three are were won by the UDF in the 2016 elections. Only Thrissur and Palakkad were with the LDF. The biggest challenge before UDF is to retain Ernakulam, Kottyam and Wayanad.

Both UDF and LDF held a corporation each - the UDF had Kochi and the LDF was in power in the Thrissur city civic body.

The BJP's active presence in Thrissur and Palakkad has made the second phase quite interesting.

The scene in the districts

Kottayam had attracted a lot of political attention in the last few years over significant political developments. Will the crossover of Kerala Congress (M) to the LDF camp dent the UDF's upper hand in the district? Well that is the big question being asked in the political circles.

It’s not easy to break the UDF’s reign in the Ernakulam district panchayat. However, the LDF is making the UDF sweat out for the Kochi Corporation polls.

The LDF will have to overcome a strong triangular contest to retain both the Thrissur district panchayat and corporation.

In the last Assembly elections the LDF had made significant gains in Palakkad, but the UDF won the parliamentary polls and the BJP ruled the municipality. Clearly the district is set to witness an interesting electoral battle yet again.

The LDF is trying to pose a strong challenge to the UDF in the Wayanad district panchayat by fielding a district committee member and six former panchayat presidents in the local body poll.

Analysis of the first phase

The Congress-led UDF claimed that the voter turnout in the first phase of polling suggest that people's anger against the LDF Government was let loose.

The LDF on the other hand said there was no dearth of confidence in its camp, while the BJP hinted at a surge that would surprise the rival fronts.

The UDF is confident of winning Pathanamthitta and Idukki district panchayats. Besides, it hopes to wrest Thiruvananthapuram and even Alappuzha. The LDF is hopeful of retaining Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha and Kollam and an upset win in Idukki.

Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, which witnessed a neck-and-neck fight between the three fronts, might have a hung council this time as well.

The dip in polling percentage in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam Corporation is noteworthy.

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