Kerala discusses different scenarios ahead of counting day

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala is discussing different scenarios even as only a few hours are left for the counting of votes to begin. 

Four different outcomes are being discussed, including a slender majority to wide margin, and even the possibility of a hung Assembly.

Scenario 1: Slender majority

If a Front wins by a slender majority in the tightly contested Assembly polls, it will be a repeat of 2011, when UDF won 71 and LDF, 68. There were then arguments that the Oommen Chandy-led government will not complete five years in office. But the government walked the tightrope and completed its term.

There are several people in both the United Democratic Front and Left Democratic Front apprehensive of their alliance winning only less than 75 seats. The exit polls by three national agencies have predicted LDF retaining power with less than 75 seats. One poll even gave LDF 71 to 77 seats.

Winning merely by a simple majority cannot be ruled out if the public sentiment was against any of the Fronts, and electoral battles, centered on individual constituencies, influenced the voting preferences.  

Those believing that each Front will win 60 seats each, and the result in 20 seats will be unpredictable, support the slender majority argument.

Scenario 2: Safe majority

The prediction of winning 75 to 85 seats is acceptable to both the UDF and LDF. The CPM’s estimate after a post-poll analysis was 80 seats, while the CPI calculated gaining 75 to 80 seats. 

The Congress, meanwhile, is hoping to win 75 to 82 seats, while the Indian Union Muslim League is confident of winning at least 79. All parties claimed that their estimations were based on sure seats. A safe majority for any Front will be to win 80 or more constituencies. 

Scenario 3: Riding the wave

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s prediction of LDF winning more seats than in 2016 indicated that he is expecting a Left wave. If any of the Fronts win 90 to 105 seats, it can be termed as a wave sweeping across the State. Two exit polls have predicted LDF to win upwards of 100 seats.

Except in 2011, Kerala has generously supported the winning Front: the benevolent support helped UDF win 99 seats in 2001, LDF winning 98 in 2006, and again LDF in 2016 with 91. The trend indicates that a wave favouring any of the Fronts cannot be ruled out. 

UDF feels an anti-Pinarayi wave could help it win up to 100 seats. A huge majority, however, is likely to remain as a dream for both the UDF and LDF. If it happens, the defeated Front may experience an implosion. 

Scenario 4: Hung Assembly

Both the UDF and LDF have written off the possibility of a hung assembly, though BJP is confident of such a scenario. If the BJP wins five seats in the closely fought electoral battle mainly between the UDF and LDF, the possibility of a hung assembly could not be ruled out. 

If Twenty20 wins Kunnathunad and PC George retains Poonjar, the number of legislators outside the UDF and LDF will become seven (after adding BJP’s possible five). The Governor will invite the largest Front to form the government, and it will be their responsibility to prove the majority in a floor test. However, such a scenario will lead to uncertainty, leading to a hung House. 

Kerala had a hung Assembly for the first and last time in 1965. The Assembly was dismissed without administering the oath of office to its members.

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