Modi factor – Polling gets off to strong start in Kerala

Indicating the strong interest in the evolving scenario at the centre, polling got off to a strong start in Kerala, where nearly half of the population are Christian and Muslim.

Nearly 14.3% of the registered voters have cast their ballots in the first two hours of voting, according to unofficial information from the election commission. The voting percentage is relatively high, and the turnout was even higher in the northern districts like Kannur, and in the Ponnani constituency.

The voting is likely to see strong gains to the Congress led UDF alliance due to the looming presence of Narendra Modi that has led to a consolidation of votes in minority votes.

In addition, the main opposition, the Left alliance, is not seen as a national player and are widely seen as supporting a Congress-led or Congress-backed government after the polls.

Out of the total 20 Loksabha seats in Kerala, the Congress alliance, which also includes Indian Union Muslim League, holds 16, while the remaining are with the Left parties.

BJP has no seats in Kerala, either in the Loksabha or in the 140-seat state assembly. They are not seen as opening their account this time either, though their candidate, O Rajagopal, is likely to put up a good fight in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency.

Opinion polls have pointed to a victory for the Congress led alliance.