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UDF sweeps in Kerala
By Arif Zain, Malappuram

History was repeated in Kerala once again. This time also the electorate of the state kept its two-decade-old tradition of changing the guard every five years. Riding on the shoulders of a strong anti-incumbency wave the Congress led United Democratic Front came back to power securing a record two-third majority. The verdict was clear and was visible in all regions of the state.

UDF has swept the seats winning 99 of the 140 seats to which elections were held. Losing many of its veterans the ruling LDF secured 40 seats and one seat went to a UDF rebel MA Wahid from Kazhakkottam a Congress stronghold.

The CPI (M) was the biggest loser in the game for it could only bag 27 out 77 seats the party fielded its candidates. The only consolation for the party was rather colourless victory of its veteran and politburo member Mr. V.S.Achutanandan in his Malampzha seat.

The wave was visible in north and south regions of the state alike even in districts with proven strong left leaning. Despite its tireless effort and high expectations the ruling party at the center, the BJP could not open its account in Kerala Assembly. Yet another time the party failed to secure a breakthrough, its state unit president with a smiling face C.K. Padmanabhan finished second in his hopeful race in Manjeswaram seat of north Kerala. He was defeated by his nearest UDF rival Mr. Abdullah Cherkalam of Muslim League with a margin of 13188 votes. In the nearby Kasaragode Assembly segment, another seat where the party expected victory, Mr.P.K. Krishna Das lost to his immediate Muslim League rival Mr. C.T. Ahmed Ali. In these two seats, it is widely believed, the UDF nominees enjoyed a tacit support of communists.

LDF has suffered a severe jolt in the election with many of its stalwarts facing humiliating defeats even as the entire UDF top brass found their place in the Assembly that too with a thumping majority. Among the prominent losers are the Speaker Mr. M.Vijaya Kumar, the Deputy Speaker, Mr.C.A.Kurien, Mr. P.J. Joseph, Mr. K.E.Ismaeel, Mr.V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai, Mr. Krishnan Kaniyamparambil (all ministers in Nainar cabinet) and Mr. T.K.Hamza, the Chief Whip.

Regiona-wise analysis of the outcome of this election indicates that the UDF victory was consistent in all the three major regions and almost all the communities opted UDF as their choice this time. Major gainer in this election is, naturally, the Congress the main constituent of the UDF The party bagged 63 of 83 seats it contested, and the Muslim League the second largest party in the UDF also improved its position securing 17 against 13 of the previous Assembly. The party had fielded 23 candidates this time. This is of course a gain for the party. The lone non-Muslim candidate the party fielded Mr. UC Raman won his Kundamangalam seat. Mr. Raman wrested this seat from CPI (M). But the party suffered a major jolt with the defeat of party's popular face and an icon of value-based politics Mr. KPA Majeed who was defeated by his LDF backed independent candidate Mr. M. Ali a film director in his Mankada seat from where Majeed was being elected from 1980. Parliamentary party leader Mr. P.K. Kunj Ali Kutty was elected from Kuttipuram seat by an overwhelming majority of 26105 votes. Dr.. M.K.Munir the president of Muslim Youth league and the son of late legendary C.H.. Muhammad Koya securing the highest majority in the state retained his Malappuram seat by36017 votes.

Barring Mankada party could secure all its seats in its stronghold district of Malappuram. Besides this they were instrumental in the landslide victory of senior Congress leaders and former ministers Mr. Aryadan Muhammad and Mr. M.P.Gangadharan and Mr. A.P. Anil Kumar who made his debut to the Assembly from Wandoor seat. Out of its traditional bastion, Malappuram, the party has also made inroads in other areas too. Party candidate Mr.T.P.M.Zahir wrested the Calicut 2 seat from C.P.I (M).and Mr. P.K.K. Bava former minister and a party stalwart brought the Guruvayoor seat back to the League fold.

Interestingly the Indian National League a breakaway faction of Muslim League under the leadership of Mr. Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait could not secure a single seat despite the backing of L.D.F. The party candidates have lost badly in all the three seats it contested. With this the party ensured a natural demise in nearest future.

The strong anti-incumbency wave has helped the UDF secure a two-third majority in the state Assembly. Almost all sections of the population had some annoyance with the ruling front. Deteriorating law and order situation, stagnation on the economic front, price hike, political murders, high handedness in every field, low performance of the ministers, the communal and political violence, mismanagement of government fund in the name of much talked people's planning and of course the widely known tongue slip of chief minister Mr. E.K. Nayanar were the major issues heard from the dais of the UDF during poll campaign.

But CPI (M) did not waste much time to clear the doubts raised by the UDF camp. They were busy with upholding the advantages of people's planning but virtually it could not counter the charges made by the UDF regarding people's plan, and held the BJP government at the centre responsible for all the evils the public is facing. Fed up with this, voters exercised their franchise for a better choice. From the day one of the campaign LDF leaders kept levelling charges against the UDF of having a clandestine tie with BJP Refuting the charge Mr. A.K.Antony said that the UDF had no trucks with the BJP for the Congress is the only national party which has a past with the image of not having any tie with the old or new incarnation of the BJP Being a part of Kerala society it is quite natural that the individuals of having allegiance to other parties may support a power which could ouster the Marxist misrule in the state, and there was no consultations with any of the source out of UDF set up.

But Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan General secretary of the state CPI (M) repeated the charge saying the only reason behind left front's defeat is the secret pact between UDF and the BJP Denying the charges of Mr. Vijayan, Muslim League veteran Mr. E.Ahmed M.P said it was the UDF which has taken on the strong B.J.P.candidates in Kasaragode district and subsequently they have won the seats. Mr. Vijayan has no moral right to advice others while Sharad Pawar's NCP a component of LDF is an ally of BJP in Meghalaya, Ahmed said. Even as the election results are out the charges and counter charges are being heard from both sides.

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