Thiruvananthapuram, May 13: The fierce two-month long electioneering for the May 16 Assembly polls would come to an end on Saturday in Kerala where Congress led UDF and CPI-M head LDF were engaged in a neck to neck race, with BJP-NDA trying to break the bi-polar politics.
A total of 2.61 crore electorate are expected to cast their votes to elect 140 law makers in the assembly out of 1,203 candidates in the fray, of which 109 are women.
If it is a do-or-die battle for the rival Fronts, for BJP it is a prestigious fight to realise its long cherished dream of opening its maiden account in the assembly.
As for UDF, the poll is crucial not only to retain power in the state but a success would also present an opportunity for the Congress to stage a sort of comeback at the national level after its loss in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
On the other hand, a drubbing in the polls for the LDF would spell doom for Communist Front especially at a time when they are trying hard for a comeback in West Bengal, once a Left bastion. The last leg of poll campaign saw an unprecedented number of national leaders beelining to canvass for their respective parties.
Though campaign started on state-centric issues like solar and bar bribery scams, it took new turn as days prolonged. The campaign witnessed sparring between leaders of BJP, Congress and CPI-M after Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who virtually stormed the state during the three-day whirlwind campaign, kicked up a row over his comparison of Kerala with Somalia.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, heading the UDF campaign, was quick to seize the remark to hit back at BJP and Modi, saying "the Prime Minister has insulted the people of Kerala". Electioneering also saw war of words between BJP and Chandy over the expenses born for bringing back the nurses from strife torn Libya to Kerala.
AICC Chief Sonia Gandhi, CWC member A K Antony, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI National Secretary Sudhakar Reddy, CPI-M leader and Tripura Chief Minister Nirpuan Chakravorty, Former Prime Minister Deva Gowda, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were among the prominent politicians who campaigned for their respective candidates.
The BJP this time is fighting along with its key ally Bharath Dharam Jana Sena,(BDJS), a new party formed by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, a powerful outfit of backward Ezhava community.