Opposition front sweeps polls in Kerala (Third Lead)May 16th, 2009 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS
Thiruvananthapuram, May 16 (IANS) The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) swept the polls winning 16 of 20 seats in Kerala as the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) faced one of its worst electoral drubbings in the state.
The UDF romped home with 47.86 percent votes up from 36 percent in 2004. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s vote share fell from 11 percent in 2004 to 6.45 percent this time.
In 2004, CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) had bagged 19 seats capturing 50 percent of the votes polled. But this time its vote share fell to 42 percent.
The biggest surprise for the Congress was its victory in the CPI-M strongholds of Kannur and Vadakara.
The other seats which went the UDF’s way were Kollam, Idukki, Malappuram, Wayanad, Trissur, Chalakudy, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Ponnani, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Mavelikara, Pathanamthitta and Kozhikode.
Former UN undersecretary general and Congress party’s Shashi Tharoor won the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat by over 80,000 votes, making his debut in Indian politics.
The LDF won Palakkad, Kasargode, Attingal and Alathur. All the winners were of the CPI-M. The biggest loser was for the Communist Party of India (CPI) which lost all the four seats that it contested. Also ending on the losing side was Francis George of the Kerala Congress (Joseph), an ally of the LDF, from Idukki.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, who will complete three years in office Tuesday, remained non-committal when asked who or what was responsible for the poll debacle.
“The party politburo is meeting on 18th. The central committee, the state secretariat and the state committee will all meet to discuss this defeat,” Achuthanandan told reporters at his residence here Saturday.
“I will let you all know after the various party meetings are over.”
“We expected a better performance and now we will have to examine why this happened. But this verdict has got nothing to do with the governance of the Left government. We will learn from the failures and work hard to strengthen the LDF,” said Achuthanandan.
The Congress dubbed the poll debacle of the ruling party as a “birthday gift” by the people.
“They are going to celebrate the third anniversary of the government Monday and the voters here have given them the best gift for poor governance and anti-people policies,” a beaming Ramesh Chennithala, the Congress’ state unit chief, told reporters at the party headquarters here.
Leader of the opposition in the state assembly Oommen Chandy said: “This victory is because of the hard work of the entire UDF who managed to get the message of the need for a secular government at the centre. We are not asking the Left to resign. But the best they can do is to correct the wrong policies and they have two more years left to do so.”
Communist Party of India, one of the CPI-M allies, was worst hit as it lost in all the four seats it contested.
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader M.P. Veerendra Kumar, whose party was virtually booted out of the LDF by the CPI-M as he refused to give up Kozhikode seat, said: “This is the best (reply) that could be given to the arrogance of (CPI-M state secretary) Pinarayi Vijayan. This happened because of his arrogance.”
But for the LDF, the third anniversary of the Achuthanandan government Tuesday will be more of a day of introspection rather than celebration.
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