Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala is all set to retain power as it is leading at least in 94 of the 140 assembly seats as counting is still in progress.
If they win, they will buck the over four-decade-old trend of swinging between the Communists and the Congress-headed UDF in the southern state.
As per the Election Commission figures, the LDF is ahead in 85 seats, while the opposition Congress-headed UDF is leading in 44 segments and the BJP-NDA, in three constituencies.
The Left front is far ahead of its rivals in 10 of the 14 districts as per the latest figures. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is ahead over his nearest rival by over 13,000 votes in Dharmadam constituency in Kannur.
At least four of his cabinet colleagues, including T P Ramakrishnan (Perambra), M M Mani (Udumbanchola), K Krishnankutty (Chittur) and Kadannappally Ramachandran (Kannur) have already ensured their victory, but the EC is yet to announce it officially.
Ministers, K K Shailaja, A C Moideenand Kadakampally Surendran were leading, while their cabinet colleague J Mercykutty Amma was trailing right from the beginning.
While senior Congress leaders, including Ramesh Chennithala, Oommen Chandy, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and P T Thomas established leads, many front candidates are facing an uphill task.
The drastic fall in the lead of Chandy in his home turf Puthuppally, which he has been representing for the last 50 years, has shocked the Congress camp.
According to EC figures, Chandy could manage only a margin of 2,805 votes against his nearest rival and student leader Jaick C Thomas till 1.00 pm.
The BJP continued to maintain its lead in Palakkad, where it has fielded ‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan. The 88-year-old technocrat is ahead of his nearest rival and two-time sitting MLA, Shafi Parambil by over 4,000 votes.
Senior BJP leader and former Mizoram Governor, Kummanam Rajasekharan and actor-turned-Rajya Sabha MP, Suresh Gopi are also leading in Nemom and Thrissur constituencies respectively.
However, BJP state chief K Surendran, who contested in Manjeswaram and Konni, continued to trail in both segments right from the beginning.
Other saffron party leaders, Sobha Surendran, M T Ramesh and P K Krishnadas are far behind their nearest rivals in their respective constituencies.
Even while in the jubilant mood, the trailing of Kerala Congress(M) chief Jose K Mani in Pala wasa setback to the Left front. Sitting MLA Mani C Kappan was leading in Pala by over 10,000 votes against Mani.
The KC(M), which has deep roots in Christian dominated central Kerala, had recently snapped its decades-long ties with the opposition UDF and joined the LDF.
The lead of K K Rama, the widow of slain Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T P Chandrasekharan, in Vadakara in Kozhikode district has also dealt a jolt to the CPI(M) headed front.