Counting of votes to decide the verdict of 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala along with 522 other constituencies across the country, began at 8 am on Thursday, May 23. The fate of 243 candidates who are in the fray in the state is likely to be known by late Thursday.
Kerala saw a triangular battle between the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF)the Communist Party of India (Marxist)(CPI)(M) led Left Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at least in Pathanamthitta, which is the epicentre of the Sabarimala Temple protests.
The Congress-led UDF won 12 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election while the ruling CPI)(M) led LDF managed to bag just eight seats. The BJP, on the other hand, has never won a Lok Sabha seat in the state.
This time, The God Own's Country went to poll in a single phase on April 23 during the third phase of elections in the country and recorded a voter turnout of 77.67 per cent. The total number of electors recorded were 2,61,51,534, while the voter turnout was 2,03,11,852.
People voted for 20 Lok Sabha seats namely Alappuzha, Alathur, Attingal, Chalakudy, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kannur, Kasaragod, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Mavelikara, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Ponnani, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Vatakara and Wayanad.
Exit polls predictions
The exit poll predictions which came out following the seventh and final phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha election suggested a massive victory for the Congress-led UDF in the state while the BJP is likely to open his account in the state.
The ruling CPI(M) led LDF is most likely to face disappointment this time around.
India Today-Axis exit poll predicted that the Congress-led UDF will gain majority with 15-16 seats, while the LDF may only manage to win three to five seats and one seat will go to the BJP in Kerala.
Today's Chanakya said 16 ± 3 seats will be bagged by the Congress-led UDF, 4 ± 3 seats will go to LDF and 0 ± 1 seats will be won by the BJP. Meanwhile, News 18 IPSOS exit polls suggested the Congress-led UDF will win 7 to 9 seats, while the CPI(M)-led LDF could end up with 11 to 13 seats. The BJP is predicted to win one seat, according to News 18-IPSOS.
All eyes will be on Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is contesting from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, against CPI's P P Suneer and NDA's Thushar Vellapally.
Besides him, two-time sitting Member of Parliament (MP) Shashi Tharoor and Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam are among other prominent candidates to watch out for.