The United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) were the main contestants in the 1996 elections also. The two Fronts had undergone a number of changes since they were formed in 1980. However, there was little change in their constitution between 1991 and 1996, except for the split in the Kerala Congress (M) led by Mr. K. M. Mani and the decline of two minor constituents of the UDF.

Mr. T. M. Jacob and his supporters in the Kerala Congress (M) parted ways with Mr. Mani, but both the factions continued in the UDF itself. The Socialist Republican Party (SRP) and the National Democratic Party (NDP), which were constituents of the UDF, disappeared as political entities with the 1996 elections. The BJP fielded its candidates in most of the constituencies as in 1991, but failed to win any seats.

After the elections, Mr. E. K. Nayanar, who was not among those contested and elected, became the Chief Minister. Mr. Nayanar was later elected to the Assembly from Thalassery in a by-election.