All eyes on BJP in Kerala local body polls

Will BJP come up with a performance similar to what they achieved in the 2014 parliament elections, is what the whole of Kerala is eagerly waiting to see. It was BJP’s better vote share in 2014 parliament elections – as compared to what they were able to garner in 2010 panchayat election and 2011 legislative assembly elections – that helped Congress-led UDF to get the upper hand. Both UDF and the CPIM-led LDF lost a lot of their vote share to the BJP, with LDF losing the bigger chunk. The question now is whether BJP has managed to translate that gain into a political platform.

The year 2014 was a momentous one in the history of parliament elections in Kerala. Kerala had this section of people who always voted for the left front during legislative assembly elections while at the same time preferring the UDF for the Lok Sabha polls. So it was generally felt that UDF naturally had the upper hand in parliament elections. This theory collapsed in 2014.

In 2011 assembly elections LDF secured 7853436 votes and UDF 8002874 votes. BJP’s vote share was 1075849. Three years later, in the parliament elections, LDF got 7196942 votes, UDF 8002874 votes and BJP 1942105 votes.

That means, LDF lost 656494 votes and UDF 476657 votes from what they had managed during 2011 assembly elections. At the same time BJP vote share increased by 866256. In the 2011 assembly elections BJP got over 1 lakh votes from Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Kasaragod districts. But in 2014 BJP’s vote share in Thiruvananthapuram reached 3 lakhs and the party secured over 1 lakh votes in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts.

LDF’s biggest loss in votes was in Kollam and Ernakulam. In Kollam they lost 105735 votes while in Ernakulam they were short by 115356 votes. UDF’s votes too came down in Ernakulam by 138937. It was BJP that gained all these votes. In constituencies where LDF lost more votes to BJP than UDF, it was UDF that ended up winning. This is what happened in constituencies in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Allapuzha districts.

The results of this panchayat elections will confirm whether BJP has managed to hold on to the vote share they grabbed from the LDF base or not. That will be what turns the tide come next legislative assembly elections.