It is all the more crucial for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy since, side-by-side the national issues, performance of his ministry has been a prime campaign theme in the state.

According to political analysts here, if the UDF tally goes down below the impressive 16 seats it bagged in 2009 it could spell trouble for Chandy as he would be under intense pressure to account for that by the Congress as well as the alliance partners.

During the run-up to the polls, Chandy had said that the election could be a referendum on the state government's performance as well.

What, however, gives solace to Chandy is that other top Congress leaders like KPCC president VM Sudheeran and Ramesh Chennithala would also have to share the responsibility in the event of a poor showing by the front.

Chennithala was inducted in the cabinet as Home Minister and Sudheeran made state unit chief ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

For LDF, especially the lead partner CPI (M), an improved tally this time could be a spring board for the assembly polls and also provide ammunition for it to take on UDF far more tenaciously on a host of issues.

CPI(M) had won four seats in 2009 and all sitting MPs are back in the fray. If the CPI-M wins more seats it will be a credit for state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and make his position stronger to be the front-runner for the Chief Minister's post in next assembly polls.

It is also significant that veteran Marxist and Opposition Leader VS Achuthanandan had campaigned vigorously for the LDF this time around.

Prominent CPI (M) candidates this time includes politburo member MA Baby, who took on ally-turned-foe NK Premachandran of the RSP in Kollam.

According to CPI(M) sources, if Baby wins, he will be a  prominent figure of the Left block in the next Lok Sabha.

Though it has consistently proved a poor third in electoral politics in Kerala, the mood in the BJP camp this time has been upbeat, expecting a miracle by its senior leader O Rajagopal who had turned the battle in the state capital of Thiruvanathapuram triangular by taking on Shashi Tharoor of the Congress and Bennet Abraham of the CPI.


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