People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 22

May 29, 2011



Congress Washed out in Four Districts


N S Sajith


EVEN though the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) gained a wafer thin majority in the 13th Kerala assembly, the real political victory belonged to the CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the election. As it is, the LDF has bettered its performance compared to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and the local body elections held in 2010. In Lok Sabha elections, the UDF had gained a majority in 102 assembly segments while in the local body elections it had managed to get a majority in 90 segments. It was therefore significant that while the UDF started with the hope of getting at least 100 seats, it ended up with a mere 72. The vote difference between the two fronts has also drastically decreased.


In fact, the LDF has improved its vote share by 11.8 lakhs in comparison to the local body elections. The vote difference between the two fronts in Lok Sabha elections was 9.35 lakhs while in this assembly election the difference came down to a mere 1.58 lakhs. The Congress has thus lost the lead in 30 assembly seats within two years. In this election, the UDF got 45.90 per cent of the total votes polled and the LDF gained 44.83 per cent.


In these elections, the LDF won a majority of the seats in nine districts out of 14 as the CPIM emerged as the single largest party with 47 seats including 2 independents. The UDF gained a majority of the seats only in Thiruvanathapuram Malappuram, Wayanad, Eranakulam and Kottayam districts. In nine districts including the UDF strongholds of Idukki and Pathanamthitta, the LDF got more seats than the UDF. In local body elections, these two districts stood with the UDF, giving it a massive majority. In Idukki district panchayat, all seats were won by the UDF in the last local body elections. The victory of the Muslim League in Malappuram district (14 out of 16) and Kerala Congress victory in Kottayam district (5 out of 10) has contributed much to the victory of the UDF. All Congress candidates lost in four districts --- Kasargode, Kozhikode, Idukki and Kollam.


Another significant aspect is the rout of two UDF constituents --- CMP and JSS, the parties led M V Raghavan and Gouriamma, the leaders who deserted the CPI(M) in 1986 and 1990 respectively. The Socialist Janata led by M P Veerendrakuamar also suffered a setback. Former JDS leader Veerendrakumar deserted the LDF and formed the Socialist Janata in 2009. JDS retained four seats while Socialist Janata gets only two.


The LDF assessment --- that there was no anti-incumbency feeling in the state --- has proved true as the LDF ministers won with massive majorities. LDF chief minister V S Achuthandan scored over his opponent a the majority of 23,440 votes in Malampuzha while home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan won in Thalasseri by the margin of 26,509 votes.


All ministers fielded by the CPI(M) and CPI have won with massive majorities. Other ministers who emerged victorious are: P K Gurudasan (labour and excise) from Kollam; M A Baby (education) from Kundara; Thomas Issac (finance) from Alapuzha; Elamaram Kareem (industries) from Beypore; A K Balan (power) from Tarur, Jose Thettayil (transport) from Angamally; C Divakaran (animal husbandary and civil supplies) from Karunagapally; G Sudhakaran (cooperation) from Ambalapuzha; Mullakara Ratnakaran (agriculture) from Chadayamangalam; S Sharma (fisheries) from Vypeen.


The ministers who lost are  N K Premachandran (water resources) from Chavara; Ramachandran Kadannappalli (Devaswom) from Kannur and V Surendran Pillai (harbour minister) from Thiruvananthapuram.  K Radhakrishnan, speaker, was elected from Chelakkara reserved constituency.


Five ministers did not contest— Paloli Mohamed Kutty (local self-government); P K Sreemathi (health), M Vijaykumar (law, sports); K P Rajendran (revenue) and Binoy Viswam (forest).


The UDF won two seats with narrow majorities of less than 500 votes and three seats by less than a thousand votes each. The LDF won three seats by a margin of less than thousand votes each.


The LDF has the credit that more of its women candidates have won. In all, seven women MLAs -- K K Lathika (Kuttiadi CPI-M), K S Saleekha (Shornur, CPI-M), Ayisha Potti (Kottarakkara, CPI-M), Geetha Gopi (Nattika, CPI), E S Bijimol (Peermedu, CPI) and Jameela Prakasham (Kovalam, JDS) are from the LDF. The lone woman MLA of UDF is Jayalakshmi who won from Mananthawadi.


The LDF maintained sway over most of the northern districts, except the Malappuram. The UDF’s main partner, Indian Union Muslim League, notched up 17 of the 24 seats it contested. While the UDF put up a good showing in Central Travancore, the trend was mixed down south including the state capital. The prominent UDF candidates who romped home include its chief ministerial probable Oommen Chandy, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, K Muraleedharan (Cong), IUML leader P K Kuhalikutty and Kerala Congress leader K M Mani.


On May 14, Achuthanandan attributed the UDF’s victory to “polarisation of communal forces” and said the Left Front would not try to form a government by exploiting the slender victory margin. “We accept the people’s verdict. We will sit in opposition and continue to fight corruption. The outcome, in a way, was the recognition of the good work done by the LDF government in the last five years,” he said.


CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the party respects the mandate to sit in the opposition. The CPI(M) would not indulge in any game to topple the government. He termed the UDF victory as simply technical.