THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is now clear that CM Pinarayi Vijayan and the LDF have secured a second term in Kerala. The swearing-in ceremony is now expected to be held on Monday, May 3 as scheduled.
With the exception of two –- J Mercikutty Amma and K T Jaleel –- all ministers who contested the elections are set to win. Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan and Power Minister M M Mani, in fact, have already been confirmed as victors.
It's clearly a sweep for the ruling LDF in nine districts, while three districts –- Kottayam, Kasaragod and Idukki -- are witnessing a tough fight between the rival fronts. In Malappuram and Ernakulam, the UDF has the upper hand.
The BJP leading in three seats –- Nemom, Thrissur and Palakkad -- was another key development though some of the sheen was lost since state president K Surendran who contested from two seats was trailing in both.
Kerala results LIVE | All set for a historic second term for Pinarayi Vijayan
The three BJP candidates who are ahead are Kummanam Rajasekhara in Nemom, actor-turned-MP Suresh Gopi in Thrissur and 'Metroman' E Sreedharan in Palakkad.
In the case of Thiruvananthapuram, which always grabs the attention of the poll pundits for being the seat of power, the LDF was heading for a clean sweep -- being ahead in 12 out of 14 seats. In the remaining two seats, NDA is the frontrunner in Nemom as already mentioned while the UDF leads in Kovalam.
The LDF is also heading for a sweep in Thrissur, the stronghold of the ruling front for the past four assembly elections, with the front leading 12 out of 13 seats.
For the first time in the history of Kerala assembly elections, the wards of former chief minister K Karunakaran -- K Muraleedharan MP and Padmaja Venugopal -- were pushed to a distant third place in Nemom and Thrissur, respectively, as the counting headed to the finish line.
Another famous son Jose K Mani was also trailing behind Mani C Kappan, who emerged as a dark horse in Pala despite not being given the seat by the LDF -- a decision that forced him to switch over to the UDF just before the polls.