KANNUR: The public campaigning is over and the backroom operations are also being done with. Now, it's time for the electorate in Kannur to set off for the polling booths to cast their votes and seal the fate of the candidates.
The battle here is one of the most keenly and passionately fought in the state. Both fronts are projecting an air of confidence but, beneath the surface, both are unsure of a clear win over the other.
It's a prestigious seat for both fronts with PK Sreemathi of the LDF up against K Sudhakaran of the Congress whom she had defeated last time. The LDF is hoping for a repeat as they think the development projects, strong political will and corruption-free image of the Pinarayi government will get a word of approval from the electorate.
On the other hand, Sudhakaran is banking on the wave of indignation of the electorate over the political killings in the region. He's hoping for the consolidation of Muslim votes in light of the hectic campaign unleashed by the UDF projecting the murders of Shuhaib, Shukkur and Fazal.
The strong sentiment of the Hindu electorate against the Pinarayi government in connection with the Sabarimala issue is also expected to work in favour of Sudhakaran who stood firmly with the devotees right from the beginning. The larger picture of a national election is also a factor which would help the UDF in a broader perspective.
In 2014, the presence of namesakes of Sudhakaran did the damage. The SDPI candidate too ate up into the votes of the Muslim League which usually get polled in favour of UDF candidates. The consolidation of caste votes, which the UDF didn't anticipate last time, also worked against them, while NOTA also played spoilsport.
Learning from the mistakes they committed last time, the UDF is going all out to ensure maximum votes in their support this time.