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LDF wrests power in Kerala Assembly elections

Written by: Staff

Thiruvananthapuram, May 11 (UNI) Cashing in on the anti-incumbency factor, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) today registered a landslide victory in Kerala over the Congress-led United Democratic Front, winning a brute two-thirds majority in the Assembly with 98 of the 140 seats.

The UDF could win only 42 seats with several of its leaders losing the electoral battle in the elections held in three phases on April 22 and 29 and May three.

The BJP, which contested almost all the seats, drew a blank despite the party's all-out efforts to open account in the Assembly.

The Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran), a breakaway faction of the Congress, also suffered major setbacks even though it fought the elections with a tie-up with the UDF.

Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly V S Achuthanandan, LDF convener Paloli Mohammed Kutty, CPI(M) Central Committee members M A Baby, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and P K Sreemathi, Kerala Congress (Joseph) Chairman P J Joseph, Congress (S) President Kadannappally Ramachandran and CPI state council member Binoy Viswam, were among the prominent LDF leaders who won the elections.

Mr Achuthanandan, the probable next Chief Minister, was re-elected from Malampuzha in Palakkad district with a margin of 20,017 votes over his Congress rival Satheesan Pacheni.

Even though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy won the election from his home turf of Puduppally in Kottayam district with a record margin of 19,863 votes, several of his Cabinet colleagues were defeated.. They include Ms K R Gouri, E T Mohammed Basheer, Dr M K Muneer, Babu Divakaran, A Sujanapal and C F Thomas.

The defeat of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) general secretary P K Kunhalikutty at the hands of a CPI(M)-backed independent in Kuttippuram was one of the major setbacks for the UDF.

Other UDF veterans rejected by the voters, include UDF Convener P P Thankachan and Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai.

Reacting to the poll outcome, Mr Chandy said the UDF debacle was unexpected.

The UDF accepts the people's verdict and will discharge its duties as responsible Opposition, he told mediapersons in Kottayam.

Mr Achuthanandan said in Palakkad that poll results reflected the people's sentiments against the ''anti-people policies'' of the Oommen Chandy government and he promised a clean administration by the LDF.

The DIC(K) which fought the election by tying-up with the UDF could win only one seat out of 18 it had contested. Its president K Muraleedharan suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of a LDF-backed independent in the UDF stronghold of Koduvally.


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