Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ex-CPM poster boy leads Congress to win in Kerala

11 November 2009

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Communists received their second electoral drubbing in Kerala in five months when the bypoll ballots were counted on Tuesday. The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), which had been comprehensively beaten in the Lok Sabha elections, lost to Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in all the three assembly seats. CPM's former poster boy A P Abdullakutty, who contested on Congress ticket from Kannur, capped the Red's ignominy with a 'revenge win' over his former mentor M V Jayarajan.

"My victory is like a stroke for CPM. Now it will not enlist fake voters or indulge in violence," said Abdullakutty, who once was affectionately called "Miracle Kutty" by his then colleagues in CPM for his winning habits. In the other two seats, former UDF minister Dominic Presentation won in Ernakulam and district Congress president A A Shukoor won in Alappuzha.

The BJP — which contested all three seats — also improved its vote share. The LDF tried to put up a brave face. A statement issued by the CPM's state secretariat denied it was a verdict against the state government. The party reasoned that its vote share had gone up compared to the last assembly polls. The Left's loss comes only months after the drubbing in the Parliamentary elections. The bypoll results are worrying for the Communists because CPM has not been able to restore the people's confidence in it despite cosmetic changes in the faction-ridden party.

What alarms the party more is that even its hugely popular CM V S Achuthanandan failed to click with the voters. The CM campaigned in all the constituencies taunting the UPA government at the Centre. C P John of the rival Communist Marxist Party said, "Achuthanandan's image has taken a beating after his surrender to the CPM's stand in the SNC-Lavlin case. He is now a 'prisoner of war'."

Abdullakutty added, "This was a forerunner to the assembly polls. Prakash Karat should intervene at least now to prevent the CPM from trying to engineer victories and spreading the cult of violence. If not, the party will meet the same fate everywhere and not just in Kannur."

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