Relief for Congress in Kerala

Relief for Congress in Kerala

Relief for Congress in Kerala

 The Congress in Kerala bucked a disastrous national trend, yet again, with the party-led ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) winning 12 out of 20 Lok Sabha seats while the CPM-led opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) won the other eight.

In 2009, the UDF and the LDF had won 16 and four seats respectively.
The Congress did suffer setbacks in defeat for its three sitting MPs, including AICC spokesperson P C Chacko, who lost to actor and Left-backed independent candidate Innocent in Chalakudy.

But eight seats in the backdrop of a total national rout could prop the party under Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as it looks past a season of scams and internal strife. Chandy said on Friday the results reflected the people’s take on the government’s performance.

“In Kannur, where there are allegations of bogus voting, the margin of the LDF victory is low,” he told reporters here. 

Of the 11 sitting Congress MPs, eight — including five ministers of state — won. They are: M K Raghavan (Kozhikode), Mullappally Ramachandran (Vadakara), M I Shanavas (Wayanad), K V Thomas (Ernakulam), Anto Antony (Pathanamthitta), Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikkara), K C Venugopal (Alappuzha) and Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram). Apart from Chacko, K Sudhakaran and K P Dhanapalan are the Congress MPs who lost, from Kannur and Thrissur respectively.

The Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) retained seats in Malappuram (E Ahamed) and Ponnani (E T Mohammed Basheer).

KC retains Kottayam

The Kerala Congress, another Congress ally, retained Kottayam through sitting MP Jose K Mani. Kollam that promised a thriller staged a one-sided affair with RSP’s N K Premachandran defeating CPM Politburo member M A Baby by 37,649 seats.

All the four sitting MPs of CPM — P Karunakaran (Kasaragod), M B Rajesh (Palakkad), P K Biju (Alathur) and A Sampath (Attingal) — retained their seats.

The party regained Kannur, one of its north Kerala bastion, with P K Sreemathy defeating Sudhakaran by 6,566 votes while CPI’s C N Jayadevan won from Thrissur defeating Dhanapalan.

The Left’s experiment with five independent candidates worked in Chalakudy and Idukki, where Joice George — who was also backed by the Catholic Church — won by 50,542 votes. The experiment, however, failed in Ernakulam, Ponnani and Pathanamthitta.

The Left could set itself on introspection mode because it failed to translate its relentless agitations against the Union and state governments into an anti-incumbency wave.

Further, the loss in Kollam to the former ally RSP will sting. LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan said the front had bettered its 2009 performance. “There was also a consolidation of religious minority votes that benefited the UDF,” Viswan told reporters on Friday.

The BJP again failed to open its account in the state but did show signs of a stunning upset in Thiruvananthapuram where veteran leader O Rajagopal cruised to a 13,000-plus lead before Tharoor came back to win on a margin of 15,470 votes.

Dealing a severe blow to the Left, the CPI’s Bennet Abraham finished third in Thiruvananthapuram.