By Sanjeev Sharma
New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Written off by many in the state Assembly elections, the Congress is now wresting back lost territory in Kerala and Assam.
While the LDF in Kerala and the BJP in Assam are still in pole position and are projected to win these states, the Congress is catching up by putting up a spirited fight. As a consequence, the winning margin of seats has narrowed down, making the elections a keenly-contested affair in these two states.
As per the Times Now C-Voter Opinion Poll Wave 4 data for the five poll-bound states/UT, in Assam, the BJP is set for a second term with the party poised to get 69 seats in a House of 126. The Congress is winning 56 seats, narrowing the gap with the BJP.
The poll was conducted between March 16 and March 23 with a total sample size of 54,991 across the states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry.
In Assam, the Congress-led alliance is now projected to win 56 seats, 19 more than its 2016 tally of 39. It is gaining handsomely in vote share too with a 10.1 per cent gain to touch 41.1 per cent.
The BJP is losing five seats from its 2016 tally to settle for 69 seats in a House of 126 to attain majority.
In the Left ruled Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is now projected to win 62 seats, up 15 seats from its 2016 tally. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) is down by 14 seats at 77, down from 91 in 2016.
The Congress is holding on to its vote share at 38.6 per cent, a swing away of 0.2 per cent. The LDF’s vote share is much higher at 42.4 per cent.
The LDF is still winning Kerala with 77 seats in a House of 140, but its tally is now depleted compared to the previous rounds of the tracker. The Congress-led UDF is projected to win 62 seats, gaining seats since the last tracker to make it a keenly contested affair.
The Congress has a big reason to rejoice as its alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu is projected to sweep the state, although the DMK has given the Congress only 25 seats, learning a lesson from the Bihar debacle.
In Tamil Nadu, the DMK-led combine involving the Congress and others is gaining momentum past the two-third majority mark, and is projected to win 177 out of the 234 seats, while the ruling AIADMK in alliance with the BJP and others will get only 49 seats.
The UPA alliance is gaining 6.6 per cent vote share in Tamil Nadu, while the AIADMK is losing heavily with an erosion of more than 9 per cent vote share.
A strong fight by the Congress in Assam and Kerala, plus a victory of the DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu will be a good outcome for the grand old party, given that its performance in the recent Assembly elections has been a washout.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Sanjeev Sharma