High voter turnout gives Kerala leaders numbers to crunch
Kerala leaders have whipped out their calculators for number crunching after nearly three-fourths of the electorate cast their ballots in the parliamentary election.
Kerala's high voting percentage of 74.04 in Thursday's Lok Sabha poll has prompted political parties to come up with voting patterns and winnability formulae.
While the traditional foes, the United Development Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) have claimed wins, even the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has never won even a legislative assembly seat in Kerala, is perked up with hope.
The UDF has normally done well when the voting percentage has been high. This was seen in 2009 (73.33 percent) when it won 16 seats and in 1991 (73.32).
In 1989, when polling touched a record 79.30 per cent, the UDF secured 17 seats, so was the case in 1984 when the voting percentage was 77.13 per cent.
In 2004, the LDF romped home, winning 18 out of 20 seats and the vote percentage was 71.45 per cent.
In 1996, the vote percentage was 71.11 per cent and the result was that both rival fronts ended up with 10 seats each. In 1998, when 70.66 per cent votes were polled, the UDF secured 11 and the LDF nine.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy appeared to be a relieved person after the voting concluded Thursday.
When told that the voting percentage was the third highest since 1980, his face lit up.
Chandy said: "History has always been with us when the percentage of polling has gone up. Now that everything is over, we will wait."
The Kerala chief minister is off to Karnataka Monday to campaign in Bangalore, known to have sizeable pockets of Malayalee residents.
Leader of Opposition V.S.Achuthanandan after the polls claimed that the UDF will be wiped out.
"We will emerge hugely victorious as people have voted against corruption, price rise and atrocities on women," said Achuthanandan.
And another hopeful is 84-year-old BJP warhorse O. Rajagopal, who put up one of his finest electoral performances for the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency.
So much so, that political observers believe that Rajagopal's campaigning is likely to give the dapper Minister of State Shashi Tharoor many a sleepless night before the votes are counted next month.
Tharoor made his electoral debut in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, when he won with a margin of just two votes short of a whopping lakh.
(Posted on 11-04-2014)