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By-poll outcome shows LDF's unassailable position
November 22, 2005 13:15 IST
Last Updated: November 22, 2005 13:52 IST
The outcome of the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha by-election clearly establishes that the opposition Left Democratic Front is on a strong wicket ahead of the assembly elections in Kerala due early next year.
The split in the Congress in the state caused by K Karunakaran has also helped LDF maintain its winning spree, as the DIC(K), floated by the veteran leader, extended its unstinted support to the Front.
In an election that upset all the conventional calculations, the United Democratic Front's best efforts to harness regional, caste and communal equations for its benefit proved futile.
The verdict also came as a severe setback to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala, who had taken the by-election as a prestige fight and as a means to regain some vitality for the UDF before the assembly polls and prove that Karunakaran's exit had not dented the Congress.
A debutant in the electoral arena, CPI Assistant Secretary Pannyan Raveendran surprised even the LDF camp by improving on the victory margin of 54,000 votes secured by veteran Communist leader P K Vasudevan Nair a year ago.
The Congress calculation that a sharp erosion in Bharatiya Janata Party votes would help the UDF went awry in an election which saw the worst-ever showing of the saffron party forfeiting deposit.
The by-election result is seen as an event that opens the door for DIC(K) for a formal entry into the LDF, with which it had been having tactical ties since the last civic elections.
The result is also expected to foreclose the chances of some minor parties and groups polarising towards the UDF before the assembly polls.
The LDF is also expected to face some problems after the elation over the by-poll, as some of its minor constituents are hostile to opening the doors to Karunakaran and his son K Muraleedharan.
Even in the CPI(M) there is a section loyal to V S Achuthanandan, which is not comfortable over the party aligning with Karunakaran, who had been the pivot of anti-Marxist politics for decades.
It remains to be seen what stand the CPI is going to take on DIC(K) after the victory of Raveendran, as it had earlier voiced protests against admitting that party to LDF.
As expected, the opposition parties have made statements saying the Oommen Chandy government had lost the moral right to continue in office.
The voting pattern in the constituency showed that the votes received by BJP in the last elections had been massively polarised towards both Fronts. As a result, both the LDF and UDF candidates received more votes than they polled last time.
The pathetic performance of the BJP is certain to trigger a severe crisis in the state unit of the party. The acrimony has already begun with BJP nominee C K Padmanabhan complaining that the party machinery was inactive during the campaign.
As though he expected an ignominous defeat,Padmanabhan left for his home at Kannur yesterday without bothering to be in the state capital when the votes are counted.