Kerala election results 2019 live updates: The counting of votes in the Lok Sabha elections to the 20 parliamentary constituencies of Kerala began at 8 am Thursday.
The state’s leading political fronts – the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) – ran a high-voltage campaign that lasted almost four weeks before polling on April 23. The final voter turnout in the state according to the Election Commission stood at 77.68%, a marginal improvement from the 73.89% turnout recorded in 2014.
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In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the UDF and the LDF shared the spoils in the state, winning 12 and eight seats respectively and extending the BJP’s electoral drought in Kerala. The saffron party however came close to winning a parliamentary seat on its own, when its candidate O Rajagopal fought hard against Congress’ Shashi Tharoor until the final rounds of counting in Thiruvananthapuram before losing by a small margin of 15,470 votes. In the rest of the 19 seats, it came a distant third behind the LDF and the UDF.
Focus seat: Kozhikode
The sitting Congress MP from Kozhikode MK Raghavan, faces a tough fight against LDF’s popular MLA A Pradeep Kumar. Just before the vote, Raghavan faced a television news sting alleging that he was ready to take a bribe in exchange for sale of a real-estate plot. The sting is seen to have hurt him badly. The BJP has a marginal presence in Kozhikode and is not a tough contender.
Focus seat: Ponnani
Another stronghold of the IUML, Ponnani in Kerala’s Malabar region has been hard to crack for the CPM and the Left parties. In the 2016 Assembly elections, the LDF did very well, making strong inroads into the Muslim vote-bank. As per initial trends, ET Muhammad Basheer of the IUML is leading by 16,000 votes.
Focus seat: Malappuram
Many have tried to outdo the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), precious ally of the Congress, in Malappuram and failed spectacularly. The district, home to a majority Muslim population, has always backed the IUML in Lok Sabha elections. This time too, PK Kunhalikutty of the IUML is leading by over 34,000 votes.
Let’s look at some constituency-specific leads – Tharoor leading in TVM, BJP trailing in Pathanamthitta
In Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor of the Congress is leading by 2452 votes.
In Pathanamthitta, epicentre of the Sabarimala protests, BJP’s K Surendran is trailing in second position.
In Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi is way ahead of others by 36,000 votes. The biggest lead across 20 seats in Kerala.
In Thrissur, Congress’ TN Prathapan is leading over his CPI rival by 6,000 votes.
In Ernakulam, Hibi Eden of the Congress is leading by 17,000 votes.
In Kannur, sitting CPM MP PK Sreemathy is trailing by 4000 votes.
Congress-led UDF leading in all 20 seats
If these initial trends continue, then the Congress-led UDF should be romping home in all 20 seats of the state. The LDF and NDA is trailing everywhere. This is pretty huge for the Congress. They were expecting 16-17 seats, but if they manage to sweep the state, it’s historic for the grand old party. Most seats are between 5%-10% of counting of votes.
Rahul Gandhi is way ahead of others in Wayanad
That’s right. The Congress president has been proven right in fighting from Wayanad, a constituency that has been favourable for Congress’ prospects. Rahul is leading by 15,000 votes over CPI’s PP Suneer. NDA’s Thushar Vellappally is in third place.
Let’s look at Wayanad constituency
For the first time, a scion of the Gandhi family is contesting from Kerala. Rahul Gandhi is fighting from the party bastion of Wayanad and is likely to win easily.
Initial trends are here. UDF surging forward across Kerala
According to the Election Commission, the Congress-led UDF is leading in 10 out of the 12 seats for which results are available. The LDF is leading in just two seats. The BJP is trailing everywhere including in Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta.
Kozhikode – MK Raghavan (UDF) leading
Malappuram – PK Kunhalikutty (UDF) leading
Wayanad – Rahul Gandhi (UDF) leading
Pathanamthitta – Anto Antony (UDF) leading
Next up, Kannur
The seat, located in Kerala’s Malabar, is a stronghold of the Left parties, particularly the CPM. However, the seat has been won in the past by the Congress as well, particularly by K Sudhakaran in 2009. Who will win Kannur this time?
Let’s know our candidates across Kerala’s 20 seats. First, Kasaragod.
Kasaragod, a constituency that lies at the northern end of Kerala and bordering Karnataka, has had a Left MP for the past two terms. This time, the LDF has fielded KP Satheesh Chandran to retain the constituency. The UDF in a bid to wrest the seat has nominated Rajmohan Unnithan, who incidentally hails from the state’s southern region. The BJP, which has a marginal presence in the constituency, is betting big on Ravisha Thanthri Kuntar.
Counting of votes begins, postal ballots first
Yes, that’s right. The biggest democratic exercise in Kerala and across the country has begun. Counting of votes has started across 140 counting centres in 14 districts of the state. The postal ballots, as always, will be counted first. Simultaneously, service votes (those of defence personnel) polled through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) will be scanned as well.
Initially, the votes polled in all EVMs are counted and a fresh round will begin subsequently. The declared result will be entered in the EC portal. 140 additional Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) have been appointed to supervise the counting of postal ballots and service votes.
In the run up to the parliamentary elections, some of the issues that defined the election campaign in the state were the impact of the 2018 floods, the sentiments in the majority Hindu community with regard to the agitation at the Sabarimala temple, the string of political killings in the Malabar region, high unemployment and joblessness particularly among the youth and the economic collapse in the state post demonetisation and implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST).
This year, exit poll findings released on Sunday have predicted a near-sweep for the UDF winning up to 16 out of 20 seats. Seven out of eight exit polls projected the LDF, which rules the state, to get anywhere between four and eight seats. The same projections say the BJP could finally open it’s account in Kerala by winning the Thiruvananthapuram seat.
While the majority of the state’s 20 constituencies will see pitched bipolar contests between the LDF and the UDF, the BJP has forced fights in half a dozen seats into thrilling three-cornered affairs. The saffron party has high stakes particularly in Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, Palakkad and Kasaragod seats. In Thiruvananthapuram, sitting Congress MP Shashi Tharoor squares off against former Mizoram governor and BJP candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan and CPI MLA C Divakaran. The spotlight will also be on Wayanad, the picturesque constituency in Malabar region from where Congress president Rahul Gandhi will try his luck, apart from his traditional family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
Ernakulam, in central Kerala, is another high-profile seat where the LDF is pinning it’s hopes on popular leader and former Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev. Rajeev is up against young turk of the Congress Hibi Eden and union minister and the BJP’s Christian face, Alphons Kannanthanam.
In Pathanamthitta constituency, home to Sabarimala’s Ayyappa temple, the BJP put up it’s star candidate K Surendran, who languished in jail for weeks for his involvement in the temple agitation. He is locked in a tight contest with Veena George of the LDF and sitting Congress MP Anto Antony.