After the long campaigns and elections to parliament constituencies in Kerala, the state has been seeing hot debates and post poll analysis. The 83 number booth of Kalamassery Assembly segment in Ernakulam constituency is set to go for re-polling. On April 23, when the entire state had gone to polls, the polling officer in this booth forgot to clear the votes cast during the mock polling, leading to a call for re-polling.
Usually when elections end, the campaign materials including posters, banners and flex boards along with others are abandoned on the streets. However, this time the candidates themselves have taken the initiative to clean up their constituencies.
P Rajeev, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate from Ernakulam constituency, asked his party workers and supporters to remove the boards and posters that had been used in the election campaigns from the streets within two days. Rajeev, the former district secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], who is known for his interventions for promoting organic farming and agriculture in general, started a social media campaign #LetsCleanErnakulam. Within hours, people have taken up that call and started posting pictures of clearing out the campaign materials.
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Following Rajeev’s call, NDA candidate from the Ernakulam constituency, Alphons Kannanthanam has also urged his supporters to clean the materials used for election campaign. Apart from Alphons, one another from the NDA camp- Kummanam Rajasekharan who contested from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency- made a declaration that they would recycle and reuse the gifts he had received during the campaign. He said the cloth materials which had received during the campaign would be converted into cloth bags, pillow cover etc. Flex boards will be used to make agro bags, he added.
Though a section has come out in support of Kummanam, many observed on social media that this step will not annul his involvement in the communal conflicts in the state. Kummanam was the one behind the Maradu riot.
“It is like handing over the knife which had been used for riots to chop the vegetables,” said a Facebook user.
Several social media users have also raised questions on why did Kummanam go ahead with flex boards despite the Election Commission had asked not to use plastic materials during the election campaign.
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Meanwhile LDF candidate in Vadakara, P Jayarajan has given all the cloths which he had gotten during the campaign to the Initiative for Rehabilitation and Palliative Care (IRPC). IRPC which is considered as the brain child of Jayarajan, provides relief for the people, especially in North Kerala.
The higher voter turnout, 77.68% as compared to 73.94% in 2014 elections, has given high hopes for both the LDF and United Democratic Front (UDF). Whenever the state had marked a higher voter turnout it usually benefited the UDF. But this time, the political observers are eagerly waiting for the results which are to be declared on May 23, as with the larger participation of women and youth they are a bit unpredictable.
Though UDF had expressed their “confidence” that they can bag all the 20 seats, CPI(M) expects to win minimum 18 seats. “Except, Wayanad and Malappuram, CPI(M)-led LDF expects to win in all other seats,” said Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
"Even while the BJP and Congress traded votes, in at least five constituencies, we have been able to overcome that. One reason why we are confident is that while the majority community vote has gone to all three fronts, we have got good support from the minority communities, just like it happened when we won 18 seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls," said Balakrishnan.
"A brief analysis into previous polls clearly points out that when the BJP polls more votes, the Left benefits. In 2004, the BJP got 12% and we got 18 seats. In 2009, when the BJP secured 6.5%, we got less seats (4). This time while it is certain that BJP won't win any seats, they will get a higher vote share and it will help us," he added.
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