Amidst the lingering uncertainty and raging differences of opinion over candidate selection in the United Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Left Democratic Front has completed its initial lap of campaigning in all the 20 Lok Sabha segments and is now moving towards micro-level initiatives to reach out to voters.
Completion of candidate selection as per a set schedule without giving room for any major dissensions has given the LDF a clear edge over its rivals in the preliminary round. The relatively minor bickering among front constituents that had staked claims to seats was capped from spilling over to the public and the front succeeded in hitting the trail united.
This cohesive move has helped the front dispel a notion that the UDF and the BJP had a slight edge over the LDF post-Sabarimala agitation. The relatively impressive turnout at convention venues across the State has enthused the front campaigners and again now focus would be on conclaves of families and different groups, sources said.
The indecision and group squabbles in the rival camps over candidate finalisation has become a prime campaign issue for the LDF. Kannur is the only segment where UDF candidate K. Sudhakaran could at least informally launch his campaign, but P.K. Sreemathy has already completed the initial lap and is set to move forward.
The induction of new constituents such as the Indian National League and the Loktantrik Janata Dal has made a notable impact on the tone and tenor of the campaign in the segments of northern districts, mainly Wayanad, Kasaragod, Kannur, Vadakara, and Malappuram.
The UDF has already raised political violence as a major campaign issue and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has retorted that the party sustained major losses in such incidents and has decried it repeatedly. The UDF campaign in Vadakara against LDF candidate P. Jayarajan is being countered by projecting him as a victim of violence.
While the skirmishes in the Kerala Congress (M) continue to smoulder, the active involvement of Kerala Congress (Democratic) and Kerala Congress(B) have instilled more confidence in the LDF camp in the segments in central Kerala. This is also expected to help bolster the performance of the candidates in southern districts too, front managers said.
The UDF and the BJP exude the confidence of making up the loss of time by launching a high-voltage campaign during the month ahead, but making up the loss of time may be a tall challenge.