Strategists on each front tried to woo the minority voters by courting the community leaders and religious institutions. With the increased presence of BDJS and their fervent campaign at many places shocked the established players. It led to the uncertainty in the voting behaviour and no one has been able to theorise who would be the winners and losers in the game yet. At least on the campaign front, everyone accepts that BDJS candidates have performed better than what many had expected in the beginning.
Even though the corruption has been the headline in Kerala for the last two years, the opposition has failed to push the anti-corruption agenda into its core campaign framework or at least it is not the perception general public has. Of course, Keralites always responded to the corruption charges through the ballot and this time also, one could expect the same reaction. Even then, one could not rule out UDF’s resurgence leading to a closer fight with LDF. With the Modi campaign, the minority consolidation favoured UDF and its alliance partners. Quick response by Oommen Chandy in response to PM’s comparison with Somalia with LDF confused with whom to attack at the beginning on the whole issue. Raking the Malayalee pride, Oommen Chandy ensured that the fight is between BJP and UDF. It was an attempt by the wily politician to consolidate minority votes by restating and conveying the message all the time that the fight is between BJP and UDF. With the very emotional Sonia Gandhi on the scene, he could consolidate Congress vote bank linking the whole congress idea of being Nehru – Gandhi acolyte.
All these developments during the last phase helped UDF considerably. Those naysayers will still argue that the decision for whom to vote is taken by an average Malayalee not at the time of campaign but long ago. Still, I believe with NDA and 2 % swing, the results could be very close with a slight edge for LDF. The exit polls indicate and provide us with what an average voter in Kerala might have thought about the governance and corruption in the last few years. Even then, it leaves some space for all the stake holders to worry about the outcome.
Conspiracy theory: With the exit polls forecasts a thumping win for LDF and reduced BJP/NDA vote bank, it could be an attempt by BJP to decimate Congress at the cost of left parties in Kerala. Congress is abigger threat to BJP compared to a few MPs sent by left parties from Kerala. Rest, I leave it to you to guess what would have happened….