Thiruvananthapuram: The sterling performance of the Congress-led UDF in the local body polls in Kerala has belied the LDF`s hope of regaining much of the ground it lost
in the Lok Sabha elections before the battle for the Assembly due in May 2011.
The UDF`s virtual sweep of the urban civic bodies and the inroads it made even in the CPI-M`s rural citadels also dented the LDF`s expectations of pulling a victory on account of its organisational strength at the grass roots level.
The victory of the UDF has been so authentic that it not only consolidated its Lok Sabha performance of grabbing 16 of the 20 seats but also upset the rival`s calculations of taking advantage of factors like reservation of 50 percent of seats for women and delimitation of wards and divisions.
The UDF has bagged the majority of municipalities as well village, block and district panchayats besides ending the LDF sway in Kochi and Thrissur corporations.
The defeat was so intense for the LDF since it was in power in 12 of the 14 district panchayats, all the five corporations, municipalities and a vast majority of village and block bodies.
The loss is all the more glaring for the LDF as it came even after the LDF mounting a united, systematic and cohesive campaign, unlike during the Lok Sabha polls when the CPI-M was riddled by deep internal troubles.
The CPI-M also expected that the decision to set apart half the local body berths for women would work to their advantage as the party largely controlled grass root level women`s selfhelp groups.
Major losses suffered by the LDF in areas dominated by the Muslim and Christian communities is a cause for worry for the coalition as the minority support is always a critical factor to win elections in Kerala.
Though the LDF leaders, including Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, dismissed the UDF victory as "transient", according to political analysts it would be a tall order for
the ruling coalition to pull a miracle in the Assembly polls.
Though the UDF camp is jubilant over the outcome, there are problems awaiting the coalition as some of the components like Kerala Congress is expected to pitch for greater share of seats based on its performance.
As the coalition leader, the Congress would have to use all the persuasive skills as well as pressure tactics to contain the allies who would be asking for more than their due share
in the Assembly polls.