Apart from the Congress and the BJP, the CPM-led Left Democratic Front has a new foe to fight in the run-up to the general election: opinion polls. More than 10 survey reports have forecast a setback for the LDF in Kerala. More worrying is a suggestion that the LDF could lose its votes to the BJP, a clear departure from the recent trends in the state.
Gone are the days when BJP candidates were an also-ran in Kerala. Three-cornered contests have come to stay in the state as the BJP and its allies claim that their candidates stand shoulder to shoulder to their opponents in the LDF and UDF camps.
Yet no survey has forecast more than two seats for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). A majority of the surveys forecast a zero-to-one possibility. But the formation is set to grab a larger share of the vote pie. Two surveys in particular came as a jolting surprise.
Times Now-VMR forecast 46.97 per cent votes for the United Democratic Front (UDF), 28.11 per cent for the LDF and 20.85 per cent for the NDA. The Republic TV-CVoter survey puts the UDF share as 40.7 per cent, LDF share as 23.3 percent and the NDA share as 23.2 per cent.
Both these surveys forecast that the LDF’s vote share will dip below 30 per cent for the first time in the state’s electoral history. Republic TV-CVoter survey sees only a minute difference of 0.1 per cent between the LDF and the NDA.
Cheer for UDF
The surveys were unanimous that the UDF will either retain their vote share or even build on it. The LDF graph is downwards and the NDA’s upwards. The smallest share for the NDA was forecast by Manorama News-Karvy: 13 per cent.
In 2014, the UDF scored 41.98 per cent, the LDF 40.12 per cent and the NDA 10.82 per cent. The NDA received at least 10 per cent of votes in Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Kozhikode annd Kasaragod. This year’s Manorama-Karvy survey forecast that the NDA could win at least 10 per cent of votes in 13 constituencies - Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Chalakkudy, Thrissur, Alathur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Ponnani, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Kasaragod. Yet the alliance’s vote share will increase only by 1.18 per cent.