Bypolls: Anxious wait for frontstext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: With results of the October 21 bypolls to five assembly constituencies in Kerala just hours away, it is an anxious wait for leaders of the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, opposition Congress-headed UDF and the BJP-NDA who are keeping their fingers crossed on the outcome.
The bypolls were held to the Vattiyoorkavu segment in Thiruvananthapuram, Aroor (Alappuzha), Konni (Pathnamthitta), Ernakulam and Manjeshwaram (Kasaragod).
The counting of votes would be taken up on Thursday.
As rains played spoilsport in Ernakulam and Vattiyoorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram on polling day, the voter turnout dipped by 14 per cent in Ernakulam and 7 per cent in Vattiyoorkavu, causing heartburns to all the three fronts.
In the 140-member state assembly, LDF has 92 MLAs, UDF 46 and BJP one, besides Independent member P C George.
The Anglo Indian community has a nominated member in the House.
The UDF is hoping that it would be able to repeat its performance in the Lok Sabha polls in April this year, held post Sabarimala agitation when it bagged 19 of the 20 seats, giving a severe drubbing to the ruling front.
However, in the recent Pala bypoll, the LDF had managed to make a dent into the bastion of the Kerala Congress (M), a UDF partner, by wresting it after 50 years.
Of the five seats, four are sitting seats of the UDF and one is held by the LDF.
The Sabarimala women entry issue, the marks row controversy against Higher Education minister K T Jaleel, were some issues raised during campaigning by the UDF and BJP.
The LDF had been on the receiving end from several quarters over the women's entry issue for its alleged hastiness in implementing the Supreme Court order, permitting women of all age groups into the hill shrine.
Showing its displeasure against the LDF on the Sabarimala issue, a miffed Nair Service Society, an organisation of the upper caste Nair community, had openly canvassed for votes in Vatiyoorkavu for the UDF candidate.
It had also asked its members to maintain the "right distance" from the two fronts -- LDF and UDF, thus deviating from its long held declared policy of "equidistance".
It needs to be seen if this change in NSS's stance had created an impact.