Manorama News-VMR pre-poll survey: Setback for LDF in Idukki, Thrissur; Clear edge for UDF in Malappuram, Palakkad

The United Democratic Front (UDF) has a clear edge in central Kerala in the upcoming assembly polls with the Manorama News-VMR pre-poll survey predicting their win in 32 out of the 46 seats in Malappuram, Palakkad, Thrissur and Idukki districts.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is likely to win 14 seats. Despite fielding popular candidates, the National Democratic Front (NDA) will be unable to distress the leading fronts in these districts.

With setbacks in Thrissur and Idukki, the LDF is expected to win 41 of the 78 seats across eight north and central districts in the state.

The UDF has secured a clear edge in Malappuram and Palakkad, with 36 constituencies leaning towards them.

The NDA is likely to win one seat - Manjeshwaram - where it has fielded BJP state president K Surendran.

The survey predicted that out of the sixteen assembly constituencies in Malappuram, the UDF had the edge in fifteen. Minister KT Jaleel's Thavanur is the only sure bet for LDF in this district.

The UDF is likely to bag 7 out of the 12 seats in Palakkad districts while LDF would be able to secure only 5. The Palakkad constituency is likely to see a heated three-way contest with just a seven per cent vote share separating the three parties. Despite fielding 'Metroman' E Sreedharan in Palakkad, BJP has come third here in the survey.
In Thrissur, the LDF will lose 4 of their sitting seats but will manage to win 8. The UDF could be able to win 5 constituencies.

The constituencies in the Idukki district are also giving surprising insights with all five of them favouring UDF.

Key takeaways from the survey:

1. Malappuram (16 constituencies)

• Out of the 16 assembly constituencies in Malappuram, the UDF has the edge in 15, LDF in 1.

Vote share predictions:

UDF - 48.22 %

LDF - 39.15 %

NDA - 9.34 %

• UDF to lead in Kondotty, Eranadu, Nilambur, Wandoor, Perinthalmanna, Mankada, Malappuram, Vengara, and Kottakkal constituencies, followed by LDF. NDA will be in third place. Nilambur is a sitting seat of the LDF.

• A close contest is predicted in Manjeri where UDF might get a slight majority of 3.9 per cent. Manjeri is considered a League bastion. Since 1967, only IUML candidates have won from here. However, 55 per cent has given high approval ratings for the current government.

• Tight contest likely in Tirurangadi with 44 per cent favouring the UDF while 41.10 per cent backed the UDF. Kerala's COVID fight, welfare programmes earned the LDF big points here. However, many here consider UDF as an effective party to combat corruption.

• UDF to reclaim Tanur from LDF with PK Firos.

• LDF has a slight edge in Tirur. Might gain 0.97 per cent more votes over UDF. Tirur is IUML's sitting seat. UDF candidate Kurukkoli Moideen has earned the admiration of people here. Whereas LDF’s Gafoor P is a businessman. NDA has fielded former Calicut VC M Abdul Salam here.

• LDF to retain Thavanur and Minister KT Jaleel would secure another win.

• UDF has edge in Ponnani, the sitting seat of CPM's P Sreeramakrishnan. UDF is likely to gain 46.70 per cent of votes while LDF might get 41.40 per cent. In-fighting in CPM ranks have hurt LDF's chances here.

• In 2016 Assembly polls, the UDF had bagged 12 seats and LDF 4 seats in Malappuram. IUML leader Kunhalikutty's return to the poll fray has greatly revived the League and it has empowered the UDF to wrest many of Malappuram's constituencies and strengthen their own bastions.

2. Palakkad (12 constituencies)

• The UDF is likely to bag 7 out of the 12 seats in Palakkad districts while LDF would be able to secure only 5.
Vote share predictions:

UDF - 41.96 %

LDF - 37.75 %

NDA - 19.71 %

• UDF's V T Balram to retain Thrithala with a vote share of 44 per cent after a tight fight with LDF's MB Rajesh (38.5 per cent vote share). NDA to come in third with a 15.6 per cent vote share.

• LDF to retain Pattambi seat. Congress was late to name their candidate here.

• The UDF is likely to wrest the Shoranur seat from CPM with a slight majority of 2 per cent. How many votes BDJS's Sandeep Warrier will draw will greatly impact UDF and LDF's chances as 50 per cent here think Sabarimala is a big issue.

• Ottappalam to favour LDF again. The Congress party has not won here after 1985. It is to be noted that the NDA is likely to secure more than 17 per cent votes.

• UDF has edge over LDF in Kongad. The BJP's vote share could rise to 26 per cent here.

• UDF to retain Mannarkkad seat.

• LDF is likely to secure the Malampuzha seat after a strong three-way contest. The UDF will come in second with 32.8 per cent votes against LDF's 38.7 per cent and NDA's 28 per cent.

• Three-way contest in Palakkad. BJP has fielded 'metroman' E Sreedharan here. His candidature is likely to get many on the fence to vote BJP this time around. However, Congress sitting MLA Shafi Parambil continues good ratings here.

• Tight contest likely in Tarur. However, the dissent over candidate selection may affect LDF's chances. So will the low ratings for incumbent MLA A K Balan.

• LDF might retain Chittur and Alathur while UDF might snatch Nenmara from them.

3. Thrissur (13 constituencies)

• LDF to win only 8 seats this time while UDF will score 5, snatching 4 from the former.

Vote share predictions:

LDF - 41.85 %

UDF - 37.14 %

NDA - 19.52 %

• UDF likely to have an upset win at Chelakkara, a sitting seat of the LDF.

• UDF to reclaim Kunnamkulam from LDF.

• UDF to win Guruvayur after a tight fight with LDF. BJP's candidate's nomination papers have been rejected due to discrepancies here. How BJP's vote share will split to other parties will greatly impact the result here.

• LDF will retain Thrissur and Manalur constituencies.

• UDF will be able to secure Wadakkanchery after a tight fight. UDF is predicted to secure 44 per cent while LDF will gain 38.04 per cent and NDA 17.9 per cent.

• LDF sitting seat Ollur to favour UDF this time following a close contest.

• LDF to retain Irinjalakuda, Puthukkad, Kodungallur, Nattika, Kaipamangalam and Chalakudy constituencies. The in-fighting in Congress camp hurt UDF's chances at Chalakudy.

• Thrissur though long a UDF bastion has been lost yet again. In 2016, UDF was able to hold just 1 seat here compared to LDF's 12. Though they have improved this to 5 seats in 2021, LDF still holds Thrissur with 8.

4. Idukki (5 constituencies)

• All five constituencies Idukki to favour UDF.

Vote share predictions:

UDF - 41.48 %

LDF - 35.46 %

NDA - 19.76 %

• UDF to secure Deviukulam after a close contest with the LDF. The nomination papers of NDA ally AIADMK's candidate was rejected on Monday.

• Udumbanchola and Thodupuzha to favour UDF following edge-of-the-seat contests.

• UDF has edge over LDF in Idukki. NDA to secure 21.3 per cent votes. Idukki is largely considered a UDF bastion. However, KCM split to likely to create fissures here.

• Peermed to lean towards UDF this time.

LDF has the edge in north Kerala

The first part of the survey on Sunday predicted that the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is likely to win 27 out of the 32 constituencies in Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad and Kozhikode districts.

The survey predicted victory for the CPM-led LDF in all constituencies in Kozhikode and Wayanad districts. Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is set to lose many of its sitting seats, the survey claimed.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to win the Manjeshwaram Assembly constituency in Kasaragod district, where its state chief K Surendran is contesting.

However, the survey predicts a tight contest in four constituencies – Thrikkaripur in Kasaragod, Irikkur in Kannur, Kozhikode North and Koduvally seats in Kozhikode district.

Biggest pre-poll survey

The four-part series of the biggest pre-poll survey in the state – predict probable winners of all the 140 seats in the assembly. The survey also reveals the likely state-level vote share of the fronts and the candidate most suited to be the CM apart from the winner in all constituencies.

The survey was conducted between February 15 and March 15 this year among 27,000 voters from 140 constituencies in the state. The first part was aired on Sunday. It will end on Wednesday.

The VMR co-founder Jai Mrug maintained that the survey was an adventurous task as it had to send its teams across all the constituencies in the time of COVID-19.

Kerala goes to polls on April 6 and counting is on May 2. The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the CPM, the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are engaged in a multi-cornered contest.

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