Crushing blow for Left in Kerala | india | Hindustan Times
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Crushing blow for Left in Kerala

india Updated: May 17, 2009 03:37 IST
Ramesh Babu

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) inflicted a crushing defeat on the CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF), bagging 16 of the state’s 20 Lok Sabha seats.

It was sweet revenge for the UDF which, in the 2004 poll, had been reduced to a single seat, with the LDF bagging all the remaining 19. This time the Congress won 13 seats, its ally Muslim League picked up two and the Congress (Mani), one.

The perennial infighting in the CPI(M) which continued even after the LDF won the assembly elections in 2006, its uneasy relationship with some of its allies in the LDF, the poor performance of the state government, and the party’s new found love for controversial cleric Abdul Nasser Madani in the hope of winning more minority votes, all took their toll.

Even in its bastion of northern Kerala, Malabar, the CPI(M) faced reverses, losing Kannur, Vatakara and Kozhikode — all by large margins.

“It is not a verdict against my government,” claimed LDF chief minister VS Achuthanandan, 81, at a press conference on Saturday. When asked for reasons for the reversal, however, he would not provide any. “We have to study and find out what happened,” he said.

The group opposed to the chief minister, headed by state CPI(M) general secretary P Vijayan will reiterate its existing demand for his ouster.

It is consolation for Shashi Tharoor that while he may have lost the race to be UN Secretary General, he has become the Congress MP from Trivandrum. Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed (Muslim League) was also elected.