Indian National Congress has won two thirds of all elections in Wayanad since 1982, but in recent times all three assembly constituencies in the district are in play with LDF winning Mananthavady, Sulthanbathery and Kalpetta in 2006. Median margin in Mananthavady and Kalpetta are above 10% which is above average and shows clear waves and swings.
Thrissur is home to Ollur, the only true bellwether of Kerala elections. A swing district, Thrissur has 5 LDF leaning constituencies including left bastion of Kaipamangalam and one UDF fort manned by Therambil Ramakrishnan. With 7 swing constituencies, Thrissur decides how central Kerala swings. A notable constituency is Kunnamkulam characterised by wafer thin margins.
Thiruvananthapuram is a classic bellwether district with LDF and UDF virtually splitting the 98 elections since 1982 in half. Bharatiya Janata Party’s biggest bet in 2016, Trivandrum has 4 UDF leaning seats and 3 that lean LDF, including two left bastions of Attingal and Chirayinkeezhu. Half the constituencies have a habit of swinging either way and hence the district more often than not reflects the mood of the state’s electorate.
Pathanamthitta leans right and traditionally favors UDF. Though Raju Abraham and Mathew T. Thomas buck the trend in Ranni and Thiruvalla, UDF and Kerala Congress politics holds sway in the district. Aranmula is BJP’s only interest in the district.
Palakkad is CPM’s district and it’s deep ties with working class delivers near two thirds of the seat in the left’s account . Constituencies in Palakkad are Alathur, Chittur, Kongad, Malampuzha, Mannarkkad, Nenmara, Ottappalam, Palakkad, Pattambi, Shornur, Tarur and Thrithala.
Malappuram belongs to Indian Union Muslim League. There would be very few places in the country where elections are so one sided. It isn’t the fact that 14 of 16 constituencies swing UDF, but the median margin of victory and the unsurmountable lead Muslim league has in some of these places which is impressive.
Kozhikode is another LDF leaning district in Malabar. The last three decades of election results in the district is representative of Congress party’s increasing irrelevance north of Thrissur.
Do not misunderstand the swing status of Kottayam, Kottayam swings right. This district is holy ground of Kerala Congress politics, with Mani and Joseph wings of Kerala Congress winning more than half the seats in every election since 1982.
Kollam an erstwhile RSP and CPI bastion, leans left, and in 2016 LDF might just decimate UDF again. May 2016 also could be the end of Revolutionary Socialists as we know them, though Shibu Baby John may romp home in Chavara.
Kasaragod leans LDF. BJP has a significant vote share in the district, it’s highest in the state, but this vote share has declined since 1982. Manjeshwaram still remains party’s best bet to open an account in 2016. Then that was the case in 1982, and every election since. Then BJP has struggled to go beyond the 20% mark.
Kannur is Communist Party Marxist’s citadel. A red fort with 8 of 11 constituencies not just leaning left, but near impossible to win for other parties. While subject to shockers like Azhikode in 2011, when CPM blew a 29 point lead, the district will side with the left. K.C.Joseph’s Irikkur and Kannur constituencies though buck the trend and side with UDF.
Is a swing district, but LDF and UDF may keep the 3-2 split intact if P.J.Joseph contests from Thodupuzha for UDF. Roshy Augustine in Idukki and Joseph in Thodupuzha have deep moats to keep LDF at bay and the split in Kerala Congress shouldn’t affect fortunes in Idukki.
Eranakulam is one of Indian National Congress’s last remaining advantages in the state, with strong moats in Thrikkakara, Kochi, Eranakulam and Thrippunithura. The district swings UDF and is critical for UDF to retain power in the state. The district swings right with 6 constituencies leaning UDF and 1 leaning left. 7 are up for grabs. In 2011, UDF won the district 11-3.
Alappuzha is a classic swing district. Some of the top leaders of CPM and Congress come from the district, and the two parties are neck and neck every election since 1982. With 2 constituencies leaning LDF, and with Thomas Issac, CPM winning back heavily Congress leaning Alappuzha constituency, and JSS votes shifting to LDF, it is highly plausible the district may lean left this time around.