Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Miracle’ Kutty leads Congress charge in Kerala

10 Nov 2009 ET Bureau

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When he was the darling of the Left, they called him ‘Miracle Kutty’. Kannur’s former MP AP Abdullakutty worked another miracle today, this time for the Congress, trouncing CPM’s state committee member MV Jayarajan by 12,043 votes, and leading the Congress sweep of the by-elections to three constituencies in Kerala.

That leaves the CPM state leadership to expect nothing short of a miracle to bail the party out at the assembly elections that are due in a year and a half. The party’s concerns will only be heightened by the fact that historically by-elections have favoured the Left, with some exceptions.

Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan strained to find some sunshine in today’s results, stating that the Congress victory had been less spectacular than what the party scored in the Lok Sabha polls, but that hardly restrained the celebrations at the KPCC headquarters here.

“The people have given their verdict. The chief minister should not be giving statements, but going to the Raj Bhavan, in order to seek a fresh mandate”, said KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, reminding him that the CPM had said that the by-poll result would be a verdict on the government’s functioning.

Political observers here say that the setback may intensify the misgivings between coalition partners in the LDF, which had exposed itself during the Lok Sabha polls. The CPI, they say, could use the opportunity to put more pressure on the CPM for a better say in the running of the government as well as a bigger seat share in the next assembly polls, holding the CPM primarily responsible for the poor showing at the Lok Sabha polls and the assembly by-elections.

While Abdullakutty surprised his CPM opponents in Kannur by becoming a Congress MLA just over six months after the Left had expelled him, the Congress victories at Ernakulam and Alappuzha were also convincing.

At Ernakulam, Congressman Dominic Presentation defeated CPM’s PN Sinulal by 8,620 votes, and AA Shukkur won the Alappuzha constituency for the Congress, defeating CPI’s G Krishnaprasad by 4,745 votes.

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