Oommen Chandy quits as Kerala CM; CPI(M) MLAs to elect new leader today

Following its victory, the CPI(M) will meet today to decide who will be the new chief minister of Kerala.

Last Updated: May 20, 2016, 10:43 AM IST
Oommen Chandy quits as Kerala CM; CPI(M) MLAs to elect new leader today
Pic Courtesy: ANI

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy submitted his resignation to Governor P Sathasivam on Friday following his party's defeat in the assembly elections held here recently.

The Left Democratic Front had on Thursday returned to power in Kerala by defeating governing United Democratic Front with a huge margin whereas the BJP managed to open its account in the state.

While CPI(M)-led LDF has won 91 seats, Congress-led UDF could win only 47 seats as against 72 seats it won in 2011.

Following its victory, the CPI(M) will now declare the new chief minister of the state today.

Election officials said the LDF had won 91 seats, with the CPI-M itself grabbing 58. In contrast, the entire UDF tally was 47, a clear sign of the voters' disgust against a government that battled corruption charges.

"This is a vote against the corrupt and those who failed to protect the dignity of women," thundered CPI-M veteran and former chief minister VS Achuthanandan.

He called it a "wave" in favour of the LDF, whose victory will now make Kerala the second state in the country after Tripura to come under Marxist control.

"We accept this defeat which we never ever expected," said a stunned Ooomen Chandy, the outgoing chief minister. "We felt we would return (to power) but this has not happened. We will now introspect."

It was one of the worst electoral defeats for the UDF. The Congress seat tally fell from 39 to 22.

Among those who lost were Shibhu Baby John (Labour), P.K. Jayalekshmi (Scheduled Tribes Welfare), K. Babu (Ports and Excise) and K.P. Mohanan (Agriculture). Speaker N. Sakthan and Deputy Speaker Palode Ravi (both Congress) were also humbled.

"As chairman of the UDF, I have a responsibility for this debacle," said Chandy, who however was elected for the 11th time from Puthupally.

As boisterous Left activists celebrated all across Kerala, CPI-M leaders said the party would meet on Friday to decide who will be the new chief minister.

In the race are two men: Achuthanandan, 92, and his long-time foe within the party, Pinarayi Vijayan, 72.