UDF seizes power with wafer-thin majority in Kerala

Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and Leader of Opposition Ommen Chandy have won their respective seats.

Thiruvanathapuram: In a photo-finish, the
Congress-led UDF 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

Even as it conceded power, the LDF led by CPI-M veteran
V S 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

Chandy, who won for the ninth consecutive time from his
pocketborough 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.