Kerala is all set for the revelation of Panchayat Election numbers today.
The first indications of the local body elections will come out by around 8 am, and all figures are expected by 1 pm.
The performances will be seen as a precursor to the big fight next year for the state assembly.
The election is crucial for all three fronts in the fight – the Congress-led UDF, the Left Democratic Front or LDF and the National Democratic Alliance of the BJP.
LDF has a slight lead in terms of walkovers.
There are six corporations, 86 municipalities and 941 panchayats (villages) going into the election. (Please refresh the page every two minutes for updated numbers.)
For the LDF, the election will be a make or break affair as it has come under increasing attack from the BJP, which has eaten into its Hindu vote base. The LDF gets about 75% of its votes from Hindus while the Congress alliance gets 70-75% of its votes from two non-Hindu communities.
As a result, the attempts by the Hindu-oriented BJP to make space for itself in Kerala is expected to put pressure on the LDF rather than the UDF. In fact, Congress’ chief minister Ummen Chandy has been accused of encouraging the growth of the BJP to weaken the main opposition LDF.
Many believe that that strategy is likely to pay off for the UDF this time, starting with this election, and into the one next year.
The BJP is estimated to enjoy the support of about 35% of the Hindu population, which translates to about 18% of the total electorate. The most keenly watched aspect of today’s Panchayat election results will be whether BJP has been able to increase its voteshare and damage the Left Parties.
It is expected that the LDF will be forced to cut a deal with of the two allies of the Congress Party — the Muslim League or the Christian-dominated Kerala Congress — if BJP continues to gnaw away its vote base.