VS, Muslim League steal the show

At the end of the day when UDF won by a simple majority, it was clear that comrade V S Achuthanandan and the Indian Union Muslim League were the twin stars of elections to the 13th Kerala assembly. The 87-year-old chief minister’s anti-corruption campaign in a nation beset by spiralling corruption scandals seemed to have struck a chord among the voter. Senior UDF leader R Balakrishna Pillai’s arrest and jailing in the Edamalayar case a month before campaigning began served as the icing on the cake for the LDF. “It is true that VS has managed to mislead the voters through his campaigns against us,’’ claimed Oommen Chandy.

The fact that there was no perceived anti-incumbency feeling and the temporary truce in within the CPM also helped the LDF to an extent. Unlike in 2006 when the CPM state leadership denied ticket to VS and was forced to withdraw later, this time the party central leadership quickly got into the act to thwart a similar move. There is also talk of a consolidation of Hindu votes in favour of the LDF in several districts thanks to its strident stand against religious fundamentalism.

However, in cricketing parlance, if Achuthanandan had been hitting fours and sixes all through his innings, the IUML had swung it back decisively for the UDF by hitting a flurry of sixes in the last over. The lion’s share of seats which fell into the UDF kitty came from the IUML stronghold of Malappuram district alone which accounted for 14 of the 16 seats.

Indeed, the UDF would not have won had the IUML not put up a splendid performance by winning 20 of the 24 seats.  Perhaps therein lies a contradiction in the results. “You say Achuthanandan worked wonders for the LDF. He was the one person who cause immense damage to the UDF before the elections and during the campaign. But our impressive victory shows that our voters have rejected his campaign,’’ thundered IUML general secretary P K Kunhalikutty who was linked to the icecream parlour sex scandal case. Kunhalikutty won by over 38,000 votes in Vengara.

Apparently, the thin majority that the UDF garnered has come as  setback for the Congress which could not make the expected headway both in the south and north. The UDF’s setback has mainly been ascribed to the problems in its seat allocation, Congress candidate selection and the confusing signals that the leadership gave to the voter by sympathising with Balakrishna Pillai.

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