Kerala gives some relief to bruised Congress

  • Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 16:08 IST

Bruised Congress got some relief in southern-most Kerala with party-led United Democratic Front (UDF) notching up 12 out of 20 Lok Sabha seats.

True to its tradition, Kerala held on to its bipolar politics becoming the only state that effectively contained the high-pitched Modi wave.

But, in the 2009 general elections the UDF had won 16 seats.

Like the beleaguered Congress, the state gave some relief to the Left front which suffered huge setbacks in West Bengal and other parts of the country.

Though the BJP failed to open an account this time it improved its vote percentage from 8 to 13%.

In a close fight, minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor retained his Thiruvananthapuram seat but party spokesperson PC Chacko bit the dust in Thrissur.

Malayalam comedian Innocent, the CPM-backed Independent candidate, trounced Chacko over 14,000 votes.

"It was like a twenty-twenty match. Till the last over it was an anxiety-ridden match," said Tharoor who faced a volley of personal charges during the virulent campaigning.

The only Politburo member in the fray, MA Baby, suffered a humiliating defeat in Kollam at the hands of NK Premachandran (RSP).

The RSP had to quit the LDF after it was denied a seat. The LDF had fielded five independents and two emerged victorious this time.

Welcoming the verdict chief minister Oommen Chandy said it was a referendum on the performance of his government.

"Though we expected more we are happy we got maximum seats in the state," said Chandy.

It is almost certain that Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats ecology has affected the fortunes of the Congress in at least two seats Kannur and Idukki.

Conceding defeat LDF convenor Vaikkam Viswan said polarisation of caste and religious forces helped the UDF pocket maximum seats.

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