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Kerala election result makes CM Chandy stronger

May 17, 2014 12:57 IST

The victory of the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front in 12 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state has made Chief Minister Oommen Chandy stronger as Kerala is one of the few states that bucked the anti-Congress trend in the country.

Though it fell short of the 2009 tally of 16, UDF has been able to maintain its dominance in 80 of the total 140 assembly segments forming part of the Lok Sabha seats across the state.

Political and social factors that worked in the polls have left the LDF camp unhappy even though the coalition doubled its tally from 2009 by winning eight seats, snatching four of them from the Congress.

Ironically, both the coalitions could boast that Kerala's contribution to their respective blocks in Parliament is substantial compared to other states.

Kerala's 12 UDF MPs would be single largest contingent of the UPA from any state and the same is the case of the Left since it has done poorly in West Bengal.

Reacting to the outcome, Chandy did not conceal his elation as he knew that it would help him ward off possible threats from his party or the coalition partners and carry on with his policies and programmes.

Chandy had approached the polls daring the rivals to take it as a referendum of his government's performance in the last three years.

The results show that issues as solar scam haunting his government for over an year failed to mar the UDF's prospects greatly.

If the UDF tally had gone below 10, he would certainly have been held responsible for the loss and the internal rivals used it as a ruse to even oust him.

Victory of Congress's Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram also came as an added relief to Chandy as Kerala continues to be the only major state where BJP has failed to open account.

But the biggest challenge for Chandy in the coming days would be striking harmonious working relations with the Narendra Modi-led Government in Delhi as the Centre's sympathetic consideration is essential to take the state's development agenda forward.

The results show that the UDF performed well in minority-dominated areas like Malappuram and Kottayam even as the Congress lost some of its traditional strongholds like Thrissur and Chalakkudi.

These losses are sure to trigger rumblings within the Congress but Chandy's detractors are not in a position to make an assault on him.

According to the LDF sources, the results have come below their expectations though its tally had gone up to eight from four in 2009.

More than the numbers, what worries the Left is such glaring defeat of the party's politburo member M A Baby at the hand of the RSP's N K Premachandran in Kollam.

The RSP had left the LDF on the eve of the polls protesting the "highhandedness" of the CPI-M, rejecting outright its demand for contesting the Kollam seat.

Another major setback for the CPI-M was its defeat in Vatakara, where the party has been under defensive over the politically sensitive murder of RMP leader T Chandrasekharan in 2012.

Once a party bastion, this is the second time that the CPI(M) failing to regain its hold over Vatakara where Congress's Mullappally Ramachandran narrowly won.

Though BJP's dream of opening the account turned futile once again, the party emerged second in Thiruvananthapuram and increased its vote share in many of the seats across the state.

This is for the first time that the BJP finished runner up in any Lok Sabha election in Kerala as CPI's Bennet Abraham was relegated to third position.

The failure of the BJP to win any seat has thrown up the question what kind of representation the state would have in the Modi ministry.

Though the state BJP leadership is clueless on this, speculation is rife that one of the party leaders would be accommodated or some eminent Keralite from outside political sphere would be inducted in the ministry.

The CPI, which drew a blank in 2009, has the solace of winning one of the four seats it contested this time as its nominee C N Jayadevean wrested Thrissur seat from Congress. 

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