The Congress-led UDF won 19 of the 20 seats across Kerala, while Left-LDF just about managed to win Alappuzha, and the state managed to sidestep the Modi wave that swept across a majority of India in the 2019 Lok Sabha election results.
The LDF won by roughly 10,000 votes in Alappuzha.
The fight in Kerala had largely been between the UDF and the LDF but the saffron party attempts to capitalise on the Sabarimala protests does not seem to have turned the tide in its favour as hoped in seats like Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta. The vote share of the parties will shed more light on how much inroad BJP was able to make.
A majority of the exit polls had predicted 14-16 seats for the United Democratic Front (UDF) with 4-6 seats for the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the possibility of one seat for the BJP, PTI reported.
In 2014, UDF had won 12 seats while LDF won 8. In 2009, UDF won 16 against LDF’s 4. While BJP won no seats, it saw its vote share rise from 6.4 percent in 2009 to 10.3 percent in 2014.
Rahul Gandhi — The Congress president won from Wayanad by nearly 4.3 lakh. He contested from the seat in addition to his home turf of Amethi. Gandhi where he conceded defeat to BJP’s Smriti Irani. Gandhi was expected to win here as Wayanad is considered a ‘safe seat’ for the Congress. The Congress chief he said he fought from the seat to show South India that he and the party stood with them in the face of “hostility” shown by the Narendra Modi government. CPI’s PP Suneer garnered 2.7 lakh votes while NDA candidate Thushar Velapally was far behind with 78,000 votes.
Shashi Tharoor — The two-time Congress MP made history by retaining his seat for a third term, and a margin of over 1 lakh votes in Thiruvananthapuram. Shashi Tharoor had rejected exit poll predictions, some of which had said he could lose the seat to Kummanam Rajasekharan. Ahead of the first phase of the elections, he had expressed confidence that he would win.
Suresh Gopi — Actor and Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi, BJP’s hope from Thrissur, came third in Thrissur with 2.9 lakh votes. UDF’s TN Prathapan won by a margin if over 94,000 votes while LDF’s Rajaji Mathew Thomas trailed in second place with 3.2 lakh votes.
Remya Haridas — The 32-year-old, one of the two women candidates from the Congress, won from Alathur with 5.3 lakh votes. Haridas was picked by Rahul Gandhi during a 2010 ‘Talent Hunt’ for upcoming leaders. Her opponent LDF’s PK Biju got 3.7 lakh while NDA candidate TV Babu was far behind with just over 89,000 votes. Haridas’s win gives Kerala its first Dalit MP since 1971.
Thiruvananthapuram — While BJP saw a chance of winning this seat, its candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan got 3.12 lakh votes, over 80,000 votes behind Shashi Tharoor. Rajasekharan, former state party chief, had recently resigned as Governor of Mizoram to contest the polls.
Pathanamthitta — This district, where the Sabarimala temple is located, was the heart of the protests against the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women of all ages entry into the shrine. UDF’s Anto Anthony won by a margin of 45,000 votes over LDF’s Veena George. BJP’s K Surendran, who led protests against Sabarimala, was a close third with 2.9 lakh votes. He had been jailed in a Sabarimala case and has over 220 cases against him.
Kannur — A bastion of the Left, the district has a long history of political violence. Congress’ K Sudhakaran won with over 50% of the votes against LDF’s PK Sreemathi’s 41.29%.
Ernakulam — UDF’s Hibi Eden won comfortably in the state’s financial capital with 4.9 lakh votes while LDF’s P Rajeev got 3.2 lakh votes. Union minister and BJP candidate Alphons Kannanthanam, who ran a gaffe-filled campaign, is in third spot with 1.3 lakh votes.
As trends came in on Thursday, UDF and LDF were in a close contest in Alappuzha and Kasargod with the margin between candidates at around 1000 votes at one point. However, in Alappuzha, Left’s AM Ariff won by a slim margin of 10,000 votes.
UDF’s Rajmohan Unnithan won Kasargod while Adoor Prakash won Attingal.
With 29 locations arranged for results day, counting began in Kerala at 8 am on Thursday.
The results were expected to be announced later than usual due to counting of slips from five EVMs with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail system, Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena said on 19 May.
Meena also said the police had identified 4,482 sensitive polling stations in the state of which 162 locations are considered as Left-wing extremists-affected ones.
Repolling was held in four booths of North Kerala on 19 May after allegations of bogus voting had surfaced on 23 April, when the state had gone to polls.
(With PTI inputs)