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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Lok Sabha election result 2019: Ruling LDF stares at rout in Kerala, massive gains for Congress

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad gambit has also paid off and the ruling Left Front’s fears proved to be right.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 23, 2019 13:01 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Wayanad: United Democratic Front (UDF) workers participate in a rally
Wayanad: United Democratic Front (UDF) workers participate in a rally (PTI)

For the beleaguered Congress there is some comfort from down south. The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is set to sweep Kerala decimating the ruling Left Democratic Front in its last stronghold. It is expected to win 20 out of 20 seats in the state.

In Wayanad, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has established a clear lead of 1.75 lakh votes over his immediate rival P P Suneer of the CPI. In state capital Thiruvananthapuram, sitting MP Shashi Tharoor has established a comfortable lead over BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan, former Governor of Mizoram. In Pathanamthitta, where the famed Sabarimala temple is situated, BJP candidate K Surendran is trailing third. In UDF surge many forts of Communists have crumbled, especially in Malabar, north Kerala.

Initial trends show the emotional Sabarimala issue, minority consolidation and Gandhi’s entry in Wayanad helped the UDF to sweep the state. He is set to pocket the highest margin in the state — going by initial trends he is expected to win over three lakh votes. His candidature helped the UDF to sweep the state and electrify the party machinery which was otherwise mired in squabbling.

It seems the BJP, which led the agitation over Sabarimala, failed to cash in on the issue. The state had witnessed violent protests after Sept 28 verdict of the Supreme Court which allowed women of all ages to worship at the hill temple. Both, the BJP and the Congress, had blamed the state government for the stalemate. They said its affidavit in the Supreme Court had resulted in the verdict of September 28.

Click here for Election results 2019 Coverage

Initial trends show the majority community has voted en bloc to teach the left a lesson, say political pundits. In some of the left forts like Palakkad and Vatakara UDF candidates established a clear lead after the first round itself.

The hurry in which the government tried to implement the verdict angered a large section of the Hindu community, say political pundits but the left parties swear the party has a wider political canvass and minor irritants won’t affect its poll prospects. It cited the ‘women wall’ erected from one end of the state to the other on Jan 1 to buttress the point that the state is progressive-looking.

It seems the ruling CPI(M) took a calculated risk on Sabarimala. At one point, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan even said that if the party loses one or two seats due to its stand it won’t matter and it will be help the organisation in the long run. But all its calculations have gone awry.

First Published: May 23, 2019 10:04 IST

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