Kerala: LDF returns to power as BJP opens accounthttps://indianexpress.com/article/elections-2016/india/india-news-india/kerala-ldf-returns-to-power-as-bjp-opens-account-2809533/

Kerala: LDF returns to power as BJP opens account

Immediately after the poll results were out, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who will be submitting his resignation on Friday, said the poll outcome was a "setback" and they had not expected such a defeat.

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BJP’s winning candidate from Nemom constituency O Rajagopal is offered sweets by party leaders in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

The CPI(M)-led LDF on Thursday returned to power in Kerala getting a comfortable majority dealing a huge blow to the ruling Congress-led UDF while BJP created history making its debut.

In the 140-member assembly, LDF won 91 seats, UDF 47, BJP and Independents, one each.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Marxist Veteran V S Achutanandan and congratulated him for the LDF’s resounding victory.

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Immediately after the poll results were out, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who will be submitting his resignation on Friday, said the poll outcome was a “setback” and they had not expected such a defeat.

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Elated over the victory, 92-year-old Achutanandan, who spearheaded the LDF campaign, said it was an LDF wave and the victory was a reflection on the anger of the people on the “corrupt and anti-people policies of the UDF government”.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan said the victory was an acceptance of LDF’s development policies. The result also proved that people had rejected the “communal and divisive” forces.

He also alleged that BJP was able to open its account due to Congress help.

In the Left Democratic Front (LDF) camp, CPI(M) won 58 seats, CPI 19, Kerala Congress(B), CMP, RSP (L) and Congress (S) one each, JDS 3, NCP 2 and party backed independents 5.

Of the 47 seats won by the United Democratic Front (UDF), Congress won 22 seats, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) 18, Kerala Congress (Mani) 6, Kerala Congress (Jacob) one.

BJP’s O Rajagopal, a former Union minister in the A B Vajpayee government, helped the saffron party to make its entry into Kerala assembly by winning the Nemom seat here. Significantly, P C George, a former Kerala Congress (M) rebel leader, who contested independently from Poonjar, won by 27,821 votes, surprising even his worst critics.

UDF partners – RSP and JDU, which contested 5 and 7 seats respectively were routed in the polls.

Similarly, 4 leaders, who walked out of the Kerala Congress (Mani) of the UDF and formed a new party called ‘Democratic Kerala Congress’ and allied with LDF, had to bite the dust as they lost all the four seats they contested.

Though BJP managed to win a seat, its key ally BDJS (Bharat Dharma Jana Sena), a party floated by the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), an organisation of the backward Ezhava community, failed to win a single seat of the 37 seats it contested.

BJP’s state President Kummanam Rajasekharan, former Presidents, V Muraleedharan, P S Sreedharan Pillai, C P Padmanabhan and P K Krishnadas, party general secretary K Surendran, and firebrand woman leader Shobha Surendran were all defeated.

However, party candidates came second in seven constituencies.

Cricketer Sreesanth, who also contested in the BJP ticket from Thiruvananthapuram, bit the dust at the hustings. Achutanandan, the face of the LDF campaign and Pinarayi Vijayan, Thomas Issac, E P Jayarajan and actor Mukesh are among the prominent winners in the LDF.

While Chandy, former Finance Minister K M Mani, who had to resign in the backdrop of bar bribery allegations, were among those who survived the LDF onslaught, four of his cabinet colleagues, K Babu, who also was under the cloud of bar scam, Shibu Baby John (RSP), K P Mohanan (JDU), PK Jayalakshmi (Congress) fell by the wayside.

Speaker N Shakthan, Deputy Speaker Palode Ravi and Congress leaders K Sudhakaran, Pandalam Sudhakaran, Padmaja Venugopal and Shanimol Osman and former minister Dominic Presentation were among the prominent losers in the UDF camp.

UDF managed to win 12 seats in Malappuram, the stronghold of IUML, its key partner and also in Ernakulam, where it won nine seats.

LDF made massive inroads in Thrissur, Kannur, Kozhikode, Kollam, Alapuzha and Thiruvananthapuram districts by capturing maximum seats.

In Thrissur, out of 13 constituencies, all except one went to LDF. In Kollam all 10 seats were won by LDF.

Minor clashes erupted between CPI(M), BJP and IUML workers in various parts of Kannur and Kasaragod districts in North Kerala soon after the LDF victory and one person was killed when a country bomb was hurled at a LDF victory rally in Pinarayi in Kannur.

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In the run up to the election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comparison of Kerala with Somalia had hurt the Malayalee pride and Congress President Sonia Gandhi made an emotional reply to Modi’s remarks on her Italian roots.