On 6th April 2021, the 15th legislative assembly elections of Kerala took place. The key contest is between the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the main challenger Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). Apart from these two, a distant challenger is Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA alliance, which is hoping to make an impact in the left-ruled state.
The state has 140 states and a party or alliance must secure 71 seats to form the government. The Kerala Assembly Election 2021 was held in a single phase. The number of polling booths in Kerala has been increased from 21,498 to 40,771.
Kerala politics has been dominated by two major groups- the LDF and the UDF. In the previous assembly elections in 2016, the LDF won around two-third of the total seats, defeating the UDF, which could only win 47 seats in the elections. However the BJP which has commanded significant support in North India has also gradually started building its support base in the coastal state.
Kerala is divided into 14 districts: Thiruvananthapuram, Kolllam, Alappuzha, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod. For this election, on 19th March 2021, the LDF released its election manifesto that promised increased spending on social welfare, health, and education. It pledged modernized transport and urban infrastructure, industrial corridors, high-speed rail connectivity, free housing for the poor, enhanced social welfare pensions, improved public services, better child and elderly care, rapid reskilling of unemployed youth, and creation of a knowledge-based world-class economy. The LDF announced special schemes to rehabilitate Gulf returnees and further bolster the public distribution system. The manifesto also emphasized State tourism’s potential. While on 30th May 2021 Congress-led UDF released a “People’s Manifesto” which promised Rs 2000 monthly pension to homemakers, Five Kg free rice to all-white cardholders, and five lakhs homes to the poor. A special law to protect the traditions of the Sabrimala lord Ayappa temple and a peace and harmony department on the model of Rajasthan has also been promised by UDF.
Reaching out to the vast majority of women voters, the front has assured a two years age relaxation of mothers appearing for examinations for the government jobs. The ruling LDF has also announced pension for homemakers and had hiked the social security pension to Rs 2,500 from the present 1,600.
Polling for the Kerala Assembly which concluded on April 6th witnessed a high-pitched clash as electoral stalwarts Oomen Chandy, Pinarayi Vijayan, Ramesh Chennithala and C Raghunath jumped into the fray. The 2021 Kerala election also saw ‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan make his electoral debut on a BJP ticket. The 88 years old recently joined the BJP before the polls are projected to be the saffron party’s CM face. In the 140 seaters Kerala Legislative Assembly at present, LDF-led by the CPI(M), 19 to the CPI, JD(S) holds 3, IND owns 4, KC(M) has 2 to its name while NCP, KC(B), C(S) and INL hold one each.
Two-thirds, After completion of all phases of elections in various states including West Bengal, the exit poll results of all the states holding the 2021 Legislative Assembly Elections have been released by various media houses and the poll agencies working with them. Here are some relevant exit polls for Kerala elections:
Goa Chronicle-Protect Core Exit Poll, Kerala 2021
Republic-CNX Exit Poll, Kerala 2021
India News-Jan Ki Baat Exit Poll, Kerala 2021
Times Now- C-Voter Exit Poll, Kerala 2021
News24- Today’s Chankya Exit Poll, Kerala 2021
Exit polls are projecting an immense wave in favour of the Pinarayi Vijayan –led LDF, re-electing it for another term in the Kerala Legislative Assembly. If the exit polls hold true, Vijayan will serve his second term as Kerala Chief Minister.
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