Kerala state assembly results have thrown up a photo finish with Congress-Muslim League UDF getting 71 seats while the Left parties notched up 68 seats.
One constituency, Trithala, has added to the confusion by not being able to count even half the votes due to voting machine error. The constituency, which may go either way, is not included in Congress’ tally of 71 seats, though UDF leads in the seat at present.
Another seat, Piravom, was won by UDF by just 31 seats, triggering a postal-vote recount.
70 is the halfway mark in the Kerala assembly.
The crucial victory for UDF came in the Manalur constituency in Thrissur, with just 150 votes in excess of LDF.
The victory, with just one MLA in excess, is likely to lead to much trouble for the UDF as Congress has done worse than most of its smaller allies like the Muslim League.
Congress is likely to have only 38 MLAs of its own, out of the total 71. It is also at the head of a quarrelsome bunch of ‘allies’ and splinter parties who are all expected to drive a hard bargain.
Congress owed its victory to spectacular gains in the Muslim-dominated Malappuram district and the Christian dominated Ernakulam and Kottayam districts.
Against Congress’ own 38 seats, Muslim League, which scooped up the Malappuram area, won 20 out of the 24 seats it contested.
Similarly, Kerala Congress, which owes much of its support to Christians in Kottayam district, won another 10 seats.
Both these allies have been jostling with each other to be ‘second’ to Congress in the UDF.