Kerala by-polls: Big blow for Reds

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi -Daily Pioneer published on November 10, 2009

The Congress-led Opposition UDF has retained all the three Assembly seats in Kerala for which by-polls were held on Saturday shattering the dreams of the CPI(M)-led ruling LDF of scoring victory at least in one seat which it needed badly to draw inspiration from for facing the civic polls due in September next and Assembly elections in April 2011.

The CPI(M) suffered the biggest shock in Kannur constituency which “Marxist turncoat” AP Abdullakutty won for the Congress party by a stunning margin of 12,043 votes over his CPI(M) rival MV Jayarajan, improving upon the majority of 8,613 votes that his Congress predecessor K Sduhakaran had gained. Abdullakutty was CPI(M) MP from Kannur till six months ago when he was expelled from the party for praising the development policies of Narendra Modi.

In Ernakulam constituency, Congress’s Dominic Presentation defeated CPI(M) candidate PN Sinulal by a margin of Rs 8,620 votes while LDF’s CPI candidate G Krishnaprasad was defeated in Alappuzha by AA Shukur of the Congress by a margin of 4,745 votes. All the three seats were held by the Congress before the by-polls, which were necessitated by the resignation of the sitting MLAs after they were elected to the Lok Sabha in the April-May general elections.

Former minister Presentation, who was defeated in Palluruthy in the 2006 Assembly elections, managed to raise the UDF’s majority in Ernakulam constituency to 8,620 from the margin of 5,860 votes scored in 2006 by KV Thomas, presently Union Minister of State for Agriculture. However, the Congress’s majority dipped in Alappuzha where KC Venugopal was elected with a majority of 16,933 votes.

However, the most significant development noticed in the by-elections was that the BJP managed to make a brilliant improvement in its position in the three constituencies, especially Ernakulam, where State Mahila Morcha present Sobha Surendran bagged 7,208 votes, improving upon the 4,902 votes polled by Nedumbassery Ravi in the 2006 Assembly elections.

The BJP’s vote percentage also went up in Ernakulam to 7.80 from the 5.65 percent in the 2006 election. BJP candidates K Ranjith in Kannur and K Babu in Alappuzha also managed to fatten the party’s kitty by polling 5,665 and 2,247 votes respectively. In Kannur, BJP candidate Bhagyaseelan Chalad had got only 4,514 votes while the achievement of Parayil Radhakrishnan in Alappuzha was merely 1,118 votes in 2006.

The defeat in Kannur constituency coming in Kannur district, known as the capital of Red Kerala, is beyond the CPI(M)’s capacity of tolerance as Abdullakutty has been able to attain a convincing lead even in Chirakkal panchayath which had till now stood with the Marxists in elections. Chirakkal is said to be the first panchayath in India to be won through an election by the communists in India back in the 1950s, and the news had been aired by Radio Moscow under soviet rule with great importance then.

The by-polls were immaterial as far as the State administration was concerned as the LDF was in power with the support of 97 MLAs in the 140-member-strong Assembly. However, the The outcome of the by-polls is terribly disappointing for the Marxists after their huge defeat in the last Parliament elections, when the UDF won 16 (including Kannur from where sitting Congress MLA K Sudhakaran became MP) of the total 20 seats in the State.

“Sudhakaran’s victory had weakened the CPI(M) in Kannur. Now, my victory here has started the process of CPI(M)’s downfall,” Abdullakutty told newsmen after the results were declared. “The CPI(M) had called me a turncoat. Now the people have accepted the fact that I had not betrayed anyone. They have approved the fact that my perspective has changed,” he said.

State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala was quick to demand the resignation of the Government headed Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan in the context of the Congress victory in the three seats. “The April-May general elections and the by-elections now have proved that the LDF does not have the moral right to remain in power for another minute. If Achuthanandan has any pride left in him he should put in the papers,” he said.

Another important aspect of the by-polls was that Abdul Majeed Faisy, candidate of the Social Democratic party of India (SDPI), the newly-floated political party of Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (formerly the NDF), polled 3,411 votes in Kannur. But Islamist Abdul Nasser Madani’s PDP’s performance was poor as its candidate KA Hassan could get only 1,804 votes.

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