KOCHI: A dip of nearly six per cent in polling from 2016 in Kalamassery has made the result unpredictable in the constituency which witnessed a neck-and-neck race. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which has high hopes in its sitting seats, is a bit worried. At the same time, how much damage the internal bickering in CPM has caused to P Rajeev’s chances remains to be seen.
Political pundits are of the view that undercurrents will decide the final outcome rather than the decline in polling percentage. The constituency recorded 75.83 per cent polling as against 81.03 per cent in the 2016 assembly elections.“BJP workers were not active in campaigning as the seat was allocated to BDJS.
Hence, there is a chance that some BJP votes may have gone to the UDF candidate. Though Rajeev had an edge, the internal issues in CPM might have affected his prospects,” said political observer A Jayashankar.
“The dip in polling percentage would not affect the prospects of UDF in any way. UDF candidate V E Abdul Gafoor will win by a margin of 15,000 votes,” said Jamal Manakkadan, UDF election committee chairman of Kalamassery.
“Not allowing the voters whose names figured in the voters’ lists in multiple constituencies to vote might have contributed to the fall in the polling. It would not affect UDF’s chances in any way,” he added.The BDJS candidate, P S Jayaraj, could not make any impact. “We have not expected the BJP votes to come in our favour. The UDF can win the seat with our own votes in Kalamassery,” said Manakkadan.Though a traditional UDF stronghold—having sent V K Ebrahim Kunju to the assembly twice consecutively —the entry of CPM former district chief Rajeev as the candidate had kindled hopes in the LDF camp of wresting the seat.
“Our preliminary assessment is that the decline in the polling percentage will work in our favour. Kalamasery witnessed a tough contest, but the image of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has helped the front,” said George Edaparathy, LDF’s district election convenor. While the UDF leaders say the internal conflicts in CPM in Kalamassery would affect Rajeev’s prospects, LDF leaders say the discontent in IUML over the candidature of Gafoor will favour their candidate.