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Kerala: High-pitched campaigning to end today

Both the LDF and the UDF are confident of making it big while the saffron party hopes to open its account. Undercurrents over Sabarimala and vote-trading possibilities have caused concerns among the t

Published: 21st April 2019 04:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st April 2019 04:50 AM   |  A+A-

Graphics on the Lok Sabha Polls 2019 schedule.

Graphics on the Lok Sabha Polls 2019 schedule. (Vijesh CK | ENS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The high-voltage poll campaign for the April 23 election in Kerala ends on Sunday.A day before the open campaign draws to a close, both the Left and United Fronts are confident of making it big while the saffron party is all hopes to open its account this time around.

The UDF camp is confidence personified and hopes to sweep the state, especially in the wake of the candidature of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi from Wayand. On the other hand, the Left front has intensified its grass-root campaigning in the last lap and is banking on the state government’s performance. Riding on the Sabarimala factor, the BJP-led NDA is eyeing its first Lok Sabha seat from the state.

Undoubtedly, Sabarimala has occupied the central stage of campaigning issues, especially in constituencies like Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta where the three fronts are engaged in a keen fight. While Vadakara constituency, with its high-profile candidates, is expected to see a keen fight, Wayanad has already achieved national attention due to Rahul’s candidature.

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Undercurrents over the Sabarimala issue and subsequent vote-trading possibilities have caused concerns to all the three fronts. Changing voting patterns and increased vote-share could prove to be the deal-breaker in constituencies where there’s a triangular fight.

To give a final push to their parties, an array of star campaigners from all fronts, including Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah and a number of Left leaders descended upon the state for the final day of campaigning. A slew of national leaders too including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have been campaigning in the state this past week.

Surveys may influence voters

Curiously, back-to-back surveys by various organisations in the past two weeks have left voters confused. These survey results could even lead to polarisation or consolidation of votes in favour of or against candidates, feel political commentators.  

“Such surveys will definitely influence voters. There’s a general psychological tendency to vote for the winning candidate. People reason - why waste a vote by giving it to a candidate who’s not going to win! Surveys will influence uncommitted voters to make up their mind. That’s a major flaw,” pointed out Left commentator Sebastian Paul. “This, however, can also work the other way too. When surveys predict that such and such candidate could lose, it could also trigger an intense campaigning by the party to catch up with the rest. Seen in that light, these surveys make a positive contribution,” he added. More often than not, such surveys turn out to be part of a political propaganda, rather than backed by scientific logic, feels political observer J Prabhash, who also expressed doubts about the authenticity of many surveys being undertaken in the context of the upcoming polls.

“In constituencies where there’s a tough fight, such surveys could lead to consolidation among some sections of society like the minorities. That’s why the Election Commission felt the need to restrict surveys. We cannot rule out the possibility of surveys influencing voters,” he said.

All set for the D-Day

All the fronts are keeping their fingers crossed
Back-to-back surveys have left voters confused, which could polarisation or consolidation of votes in favour of or against candidates
Sabarimala has occupied the central stage of campaigning



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