KOCHI: A day after the poll, the three leading fronts were engrossed in analysing the turnout numbers to see to which direction the wind had flown. However, in Tripunithura, leaders of CPM, Congress and BJP are yet to come to a firm conclusion as various elements, including the impact of the Sabarimala issue, had made the contest here unpredictable.
The Left front, banking on the welfare activities, expressed confidence that sitting MLA M Swaraj would be elected again from Tripunithura. On the contrary, Congress believe that there was an anti-incumbency factor against the sitting MLA. The Congress leaders also said Swaraj’s certain remarks when the Sabarimala protests were raging would also work in favour of its candidate and former minister K Babu.
Meanwhile, BJP which fielded K S Radhakrishnan is also hopeful of winning the seat. The NDA leaders believe that the Sabarimala issue and anti-incumbency will work in favour of its candidate, not for Babu.
When 77 per cent of votes were polled in the 2016 assembly elections, Swaraj garnered 40 per cent of those. The crucial factor in the last elections was the 29,843 votes amassed by BJP candidate Thuravoor Viswambharan. That resulted in Babu getting defeated by a margin of 4,467 votes.
“This year, it will be interesting to see whether BJP will considerably increase the vote share to register a win in Tripunithura. It would not be possible for the front to register a win without making inroads into both LDF and UDF vote share. If BJP garners more votes, we would have to see whether it has got the same from LDF’s kitty. If Babu is able to retain the votes that he got last year and BJP eats into the votes that went in favour of Swaraj last time, then it will be a comfortable victory for Babu,” said D Dhanuraj, chairman of Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).
Meanwhile, LDF election convener for the district George Edapparathy said they are confident of a comfortable victory for Swaraj. “The various initiatives he launched during his tenure as MLA, the welfare activities of the government and the people’s desire to have Pinarayi Vijayan as the chief minister of Kerala again will work in our favour,” he said.
Asked about the chances, UDF election chairman Dominic Presentation said the anti-incumbency votes alone will give Babu a comfortable victory. “What we learnt during the campaign is that there is a section of voters who did not want the sitting MLA to continue. Even if the BJP increases its votes, our candidate will emerge victorious,” Presentation said. This year, the polling percentage in Tripunithura came down to 73.28 from 77 in 2016. All three fronts claim that this decrease will work in their favour.