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Lok Sabha elections: Kerala awaits interesting, suspenseful climax

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Complex political dynamics are at play in Kerala, making the upcoming Lok Sabha elections interesting with a suspenseful climax. Kerala has traditionally seen a bipolar contest between the CPM-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF. This is the first time in the history of Kerala that a general election is being held after a political front has returned to power for the consecutive time in Kerala.

While the 2019 Lok Sabha polls witnessed an easy cake walk for the UDF, which won 19 out of 20 seats, riding high on Sabarimala women entry issue, the 2024 election is going to be a different ball game altogether.

As the Congress and the CPM fiercely compete against each other, will they engage in any collaboration to resist the rise of the BJP in Kerala? Both the CPM and the Congress have to rework on strategies considering the rise of BJP which is making the electoral battlefield more competitive. The Congress is relying on an anti-incumbency wave to gain votes, while the ruling LDF is focusing on attracting voters through welfare measures and a development agenda.

The growth of BJP’s footprint among Kerala’s Hindu voters is likely to make an impact in a few constituencies in the state. Except for Kasaragod, BJP may find the going tough in Malabar belt considering the unique political landscape of the region. But when it comes to Travancore belt right from Thrissur, BJP is expanding fast through its aggressive brand of politics. Political observer P Sugathan concurs that in Central and South Kerala, BJP has been able to make inroads among upper caste Hindus and OBCs who have traditionally voted for Congress & CPM.

“While BJP’s victory is not certain, its growing vote share of 15 per cent can upset the chances of both UDF and LDF in a few constituencies. Much depends on how both the UDF and the LDF counter polarisation politics while holding on to its Hindu base,” he said.

For LDF, it is a chance to prove its governance record and buck anti-incumbency. For UDF, it is an opportunity to bounce back. And for BJP, it is a shot at emerging as the third main alternative force in Kerala by winning at least two seats. Whatever, the result may not dramatically alter Kerala’s polity, but can set the stage for the big battle in the 2026 assembly polls.

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