The LDF has trumped its main rival, the UDF, in several constituencies and has established a clear majority for itself.
According to results declared by the Election Commission, the LDF has won 86 seats, while the UDF has bagged 47 seats, with the BJP winning one and independent candidates winning six. Thus the LDF is comfortably past the magic number of 71, thanks to major gains especially in Kannur, Thrissur, Alappuzha, Kollam, Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram.
Elections in Kerala were perhaps even more closely followed because the BJP has never won a seat during the assembly elections forming a three-way contest for around 2.6 crore voters for the first time in the state’s electoral history.
The three political formations campaigning in Kerala adopted various strategies during the elections. Initially, the LDF attempted to capitalize on the scam-ridden incumbent government, targeting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s government over the solar and bar bribery scandals. Soon it changed tack and began to project itself as the best choice for Kerala’s development, echoing the BJP strategy.
In a tried and tested strategy, the BJP had targeted both of the state’s coalitions for misrule all these years. The Congress-led UDF sought to maintain shine a spotlight on its programmes and development schemes.
The run up to the polls even before the elections were announced was marked by many twists and turns, including the blow-hot-blow-cold relationship between SNDP head Vellapally Natesan and the BJP. Once the poll dates were announced, things got more interesting with Vellappally Natesan's new political outfit BDJS joining hands with the NDA.
The 2016 assembly election was also marked by a possibly unprecedented number of film stars and celebrities, including journalists, who joined in the fray. A number of relatives of prominent politicians and incumbent or former ministers also tested the electoral waters.
The exit polls had predicted a comfortable win for the LDF – slightly over the halfway mark, even though the numbers of different surveys varied. Opinion polls too had made similar predictions.
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