NDA makes entry in Kerala
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Thursday registered its maiden electoral victory in Kerala with Union Minister of State for Law PC Thomas winning the parliamentary poll from Muvattupuzha.
Though he has won the Muvattupuzha seat six times consecutively, Thursday's victory marks the first time that the state will send to parliament a candidate other than from the Left Democratic Front (LDF) or the United Democratic Front (UDF). His victory margin was a mere 529 votes.
In the previous five elections, Thomas was a candidate of the Kerala Congress (Mani), an ally of the Congress-led UDF. However, soon after the May 2001 assembly polls, he fell out with his mentor, state Revenue Minister KM Mani.
Mani was apparently of the view that Thomas stood in the way of his son and political heir Jose K Mani's future.
Finally, Thomas moved out of Mani's stable and formed the IFDP party, pledging support to the NDA.
Reacting to Thomas' victory, state Irrigation Minister TM Jacob said it should not be seen as an NDA triumph but as a personal victory for Thomas because of his long association with the constituency.
The final tally shows that Thomas polled 256,411 votes. His nearest LDF rival PM Ismail polled 255,882 votes, while the UDF's Jose K Mani got 209,880 votes.
His win comes amidst a landslide victory for the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led LDF in this election.