UDF secures wafer-thin majority in Kerala
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Last Updated: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 09:45
Zeenews Bureau

Thiruvanathapuram: In a photo-finish, the Congress-led UDF on Friday unseated the CPI(M)-led LDF, winning 72 seats in the 140-member assembly, the thinnest majority margin in the last four decades.

Giving the UDF a run for its money in the closely fought contest, rival LDF secured 68 seats, managing to hold its ground.

Even as it conceded power, the LDF led by CPI-M veteran VS Achuthanandan regained much of the ground it lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and civic elections last year.

While the CPI(M) emerged as the single largest party with 45 seats out of 93 it contested, the Congress which heads the UDF could win only 38 of the 82 seats it fought.

UDF allies like the Indian Union Muslim League and the Kerala Congress (Mani) did well in their traditional strongholds, which helped the combine to scrape through.

Accepting the verdict, both Achuthanadan and CPI(M) state secretary Pinaryi Vijayan made it clear that the front would sit in the opposition without making any effort to cling to power by luring any minor component from the UDF.

In a subdued reaction to the results, Congress leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala said the party would introspect reasons for the results falling short of their expectations.

Chandy, who won for the ninth consecutive time from his pocket borough Puthupally with a huge margin of 33,255 votes over his CPI(M) rival, said Congress MLAs and the party high command would choose the CLP leader.

The dream of the BJP to enter the state assembly was shattered once again but it finished second in three seats, including Nemom where former Union Minister O Rajagopal was in the fray.

The outcome showed that in all regions, the LDF gave a tough fight to the UDF belying its hopes of a sterling performance cashing in on the "anti-incumbency" factor in the state where the rival fronts rule alternately.

As per preliminary figures, the vote difference between the two fronts was about 1.5 lakh.

Apart from 38 seats bagged by the Congress, UDF's second largest partner IUML won 20, Kerala Congress (Mani) 9, Socialist Janata (Democratic) 2, Kerala Congress (B), Kerala Congress (Jacob), and RSP (B) one each. Two of the UDF partners, JSS and CMP, were washed out.

In the LDF, CPI-M secured 45, followed by CPI 13, JD(S) four and NCP, RSP and LDF backed Independents two each. Kerala Congress (Thomas group) and a faction of the INL, which were part of the LDF drew blank.

The final party position in Kerala is - Muslim League 20, CPI 13, Kerala Congress-M 9, JD-S 4, SJ-D 2, Kerala Congress-J 1, KRSP-B 1, KC-B 1, NCP 2, RSP 2 and Independents (Left) 2.

The prominent UDF candidates who romped home include its Chief Ministerial probable Oommen Chandy, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, K Muraleedharan (Cong), IUML leader PK Kuhalikutty and Kerala Congress leader K M Mani (Pala).

Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan scored a hat-trick from the CPI (M) stronghold Malampuzha by a huge margin of 20,000 votes over Lathika Subhash of the Congress.

Achuthanandan will submit his resignation to Governor RS Gavai on Saturday. Sources in the Chief Minister's office said Achuthanandan would be back in the state capital tomorrow morning and hand over the resignation by the forenoon.

The 87-year-old Marxist veteran is now in Malampuzha in Palakkad.

Most of the ministers including Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan received a fresh mandate.

The LDF maintained sway over most of the northern districts, except the Muslim League-dominated Malappuram.

While the UDF put up a good showing in the Christian heartland Central Travancore, the trend was mixed in down south including the state capital.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 09:45

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