The Left Democratic Front (LDF), led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, scripted history by bucking the over four decade-old trend of alternate front governments in Kerala. As it headed for a clean sweep and retained power in 140-seat Assembly, it scripted a new chapter in the state’s electoral history and also ensured that the red flag will continue to fly in the lone Left bastion in the country. Though the official announcement is yet to be made, the CPI(M) led LDF has won 99 of the total of 140 seats, while Congress-headed UDF opposition won in 41 constituencies. The BJP-led NDA has drawn a blank. “The historic victory is a recognition of the LDF government’s five year rule. It is the people’s victory. They trusted us and we trusted them. The election was a big political fight for us," Vijayan said in Kannur.
Addressing the workers, he said, “This is not the time to celebrate our huge win. Many wanted to celebrate but they have held back. Our fight against COVID will continue."
Congress leader Ramnesh Chennithala accepted the defeat, while stating that it was unexpected. “We accept the verdict of the people. It was unexpected. UDF is still a formidable force in Kerala. We will introspect into our functioning. We had exposed the loot and corruption by LDF in Kerala. This does not mean that those issues can be washed away. I congratulate all the winners," he said. Meanwhile, the BJP faced a crushing defeat after it failed to retain its lone seat in Nenom. In Palakkad, where ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan was leading till the afternoon, Congress candidate Shafi Parambil was declared winner.
Later, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac wrote on Twitter, “We have closed the account that BJP opened in the Kerala assembly in 2016 election. Kerala has become the only assembly in India that has no representative from BJP. Kerala will remain the citadel of secularism in the country."
Strong rooms in the state opened early in the morning on Sunday, with ballot votes being counted first. The election is crucial for both alliances as Vijayan is looking to continue in the CM’s chair and the Congress tries to win back power in the state. Since Kerala is the only Left-ruled state in the country and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led the Kerala campaign for his party, the outcome of this election is important for the political future of both the camps. If the Congress-led alliance wins, it will be the sixth state to be ruled by the grand old party in the country.
Like in Tamil Nadu before 2016, Kerala has always voted to change governments in the state every five years. But if the exit polls are anything to go by, Vijayan may stay in power, which will be a break in tradition. While the BJP too led an aggressive campaign in the state, none of the exit polls has predicted more than three to five seats for it in the state.
Political observer NM Pearson had told News18, “The most important aspect of the assembly election in Kerala is that it may determine the future course of action of the three major political fronts. Hence, it is vital for all of them.”
The Kerala High Court, meanwhile, asked the police and district collectors to ensure that no assembly of people takes place in the state for four days from May 1 in connection with the counting of votes for assembly elections on May 2. Whichever party wins, celebrations are going to be muted as the court banned victory processions of political parties in light of the Covid surge in the state and across the country.
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