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|October 7, 1999||
CPI sinks without trace in Kerala
D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
The Communist Party of India, the second largest constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala, has drawn a blank in the state.
The CPI was defeated in all the four seats it contested. It had won two seats in 1998.
The party conceded the Adoor and Thrissur seats to the Congress. V V Raghavan, who defeated senior Congress leader K Karunakaran and his son K Muraleedharan in 1996 and 1998 respectively, was humbled by A C Jose of the Congress by 11,655 votes.
In Adoor, the CPI candidate was defeated by 22,606 votes.
The defeat in Thiruvananthapuram was the most humiliating as CPI candidate Kaniyapuram Ramachandran, a well-known writer, was downed by a weak Congress candidate V S Sivakumar, a district Youth Congress leader. In fact, the LDF had alleged that the Congress had fielded a lightweight to ensure the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party national leader O Rajagopal as part of a secret pact between the two parties.
Ramachandran, who had won the election to the assembly earlier, finished a poor third in the Thiruvananthapuram East assembly segment.
The other seat where the CPI tasted defeat is Ponnani, considered the pocket borough of the Indian Union Muslim League, which retained the seat by an improved margin of 129,478 votes.
The Janata Dal-Secular, which gifted one seat to its Karnataka leader C M Ibrahim, has also drawn a blank.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Congress-Joseph, which has been facing consecutive defeats in Idukki during the last three elections, is in a comfortable position against Congress nominee Professor P J Kurien, who is haunted by the Suryanelli sex scandal.
The CPI-M had denied ticket to its other allies, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Nationalist Congress Party. It has already retained the Kollam seat that the RSP had been winning during the last two elections. It is also set to win the NCP's Kannur seat. It has established a slender lead of 1908 votes over Mullappally Ramachandran of the Congress.
The CPI-M, which had contested 15 seats, has already won seven seats. The LDF is likely to maintain its last election tally of nine seats.
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