LDF poised to rewrite Kerala electoral history

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, off late addressed  by many in the social media as ‘captain’, seems set to justify the title by creating history by  leading the Left Democratic Front to its second consecutive victory, a feat which bucks an over  40-year-old trend in the state’s electoral politics.

As the counting of votes reached the last few rounds across the state’s 140 assembly  constituencies, the LDF was  leading in 98 seats, with the Congress-led United Democratic Front  leading in 41 seats.

The Left’s stunning performance can be attributed to no one other than Chief Minister Vijayan  who led from the front.

In the 2016 polls, it was party stalwart V S  Achuthanandan who led from the front and after the Left won, Vijayan stepped in to take the Chief Minister’s post, while Achuthanandan was given  the post of ‘Kerala Castro’.

Vijayan, despite running into numerous troubles in various issues, stood his ground and boldly  went forward. His writ ran large when it came to selecting party candidates, with seven ministers  and 26 legislators left out.

Even with a few rounds of counting left, senior Congress leader and MP Benny Behanan said  they accept the verdict and will sit down to find out what went wrong.

The leads were on the lines of the exit polls, which had predicted a victory for the Left, with few of them giving it over 100 seats while sticking to a minimum of 75.

The Congress-led UDF, which had swept the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will have to do a lot of introspection as they were banking on a backlash against the Left from the Hindu women voters,  especially those who are devotees of Lord Ayyappa, over Vijayan altering the traditions of the  Sabarimala temple in 2018. After getting knocked out at the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Vijayan  decided to wait for the apex court directive and then decide.

Also, its new ally Kerala Congress-Mani’s leader Jose K Mani, son of late legendary K M  Mani  whose party was in the Congress-led UDF till last year before switching over to the LDF, was  trailing in Pala, represented by his father for over half a century.

What will be painful for him is a few of the other candidates from his party are leading.