Lok Sabha 2019: Kerala will go to polls on April 23, LDF and UDF main contenders
Will the LDF be able to increase their tally or will polarisation on issues like Sabarimala allow the UDF and the BJP to increase their numbers? The polls for the 17th Lok Sabha will be held in Kerala on April 23 -- as part of the the third phase -- and the results for the entire nation will come on May 23. This was announced by the Election Commission on Sunday, which stated that the state will witness a single-phase election. The last date for filing nomination is April 4 and the last date for withdrawal of nomination is April 8.
Kerala will witness a triangular contest between the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the 20 seats that are up for grabs in the state. The CPI (M) leads the LDF, which is the ruling coalition in the state. The second largest constituent in LDF is CPI. The other allies of the LDF are Janatha Dal (Secular), Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Marxist Party (Aravindakshan), Congress (Socialist), Kerala Congress (B) among the 13 constituents. The LDF won 8 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections with CPI(M) taking home 5 seats, while the CPI bagged 1. Two independents that were supported by LDF won a seat each.
The Congress-led UDF is an alliance of six parties. The Indian Union Muslim League, and the Kerala Congress (M) are also part of the UDF. Kerala Congress Jacob, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and All India Forward Bloc are the other constituents. The UDF emerged victorious in 12 constituencies in 2014, with Congress bagging 8 seats, the IUML 2, and Kerala Congress (M) and RSP one each.
The NDA is led by the BJP and comprises of Bharat Dhara Jana Sena (BDJS), Kerala Congress and the Janadhipathy Rashtriya Sabha. The NDA had, however, drawn a blank in Kerala in 2014.
With the BDJS having been formed only in 2015, it was not a part of the BJP alliance in the 2014 polls
Though the LDF has almost finalized its candidates for 2019, the other fronts are yet to come with a tentative list. The CPI was the first party to decide the candidates for the four seats allocated to it. As per the latest decision, the CPI (M) will contest in the remaining 16 seats. The rest of the allies will have to sit out in the parliamentary election.
Seat-sharing has also been finalised in the UDF, with Congress contesting in 15 seats, IUML in 2, while Kerala Congress (M), Socialist Janata (Democratic) and Revolutionary Socialist Party will get one each.
The NDA is still holding seat sharing talks in Kerala with the BDJS reportedly demanding 8 out of 20 seats. However, the BJP has reportedly refused to yield more than 6 seats.