Thiruvananthapuram: With the third phase of polling also completed with a high voter turnout, the three major political fronts in Kerala are awaiting the results of the civic body elections with bated breath.
It will be known on Wednesday as to how the public has reacted to the political controversies that rocked the state in the last few months. There is an unprecedented interest in the outcome of the local body elections this year. The importance is further heightened as the result is being seen as a pointer to the Assembly elections, scheduled to be held next year.
With the last lap of the multi-phase polls also completed on Monday, both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) are equally hopeful of their chances. And the BJP is also confident that the party would be able to record a better performance than the previous elections
Though the 2015 local elections mostly saw an LDF dominance, both the fronts were on an equal footing in the district panchayats by securing seven each.
This time, the UDF is optimistic of gaining an upper hand in Malappuram, Ernakulam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad this time. Also, it hopes to retain Kottayam and Kasaragod that saw tough contests.
Kannur, Kollam, Palakkad, Alappuzha, and Kozhikode are on the LDF's first list. It is also hopeful that the keenly contested Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram would once again side with the Left.
The LDF has publicly claimed that except for Malappuram, it was hopeful of the other 13 district panchayats. The UDF on its part claimed it is positive about all district panchayats, except Kannur.
The BJP is hopeful of proving its presence in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta, Kasaragod and Palakkad district panchayats.
What is in store in corporations
The LDF won five corporations in 2015 and only lost out on Kochi. All six corporations witnessed a tough battle this time. The UDF can claim advantage in Kochi and Kannur, while the LDF could be optimistic of its chances in Kollam and Kozhikode.
However, the LDF hopes for an unexpected change of guard in Kochi, while the UDF fancies its chances in Kozhikode.
The verdict for the Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur corporations would also depend on the seats secured by the NDA.
Chances in other local bodies
Among the municipalities, the LDF had won 45 and the UDF 40 in 2015. However, the likely surge of the BJP in these areas could prove to be a headache for both the fronts. The LDF had proved its dominance by winning 60 of the 92 block panchayats and 577 of the 941 gram panchayats in the last election. However, the LDF would find it difficult to script a similar success story this time.
LDF convenor A Vijayaraghavan has said that he was hopeful of the LDF securing an upper hand at all levels. But UDF convenor M M Hassan said that the anti-administration and -corruption sentiment would result in a major setback for the LDF.
However, BJP state president K Surendran has said the Wednesday’s verdict will mark the beginning of a crucial change in Kerala politics.