Alappuzha: The UDF avalanche that hit the state on Thursday swept away the rivals everywhere except in Alappuzha where LDF’s A. M. Ariff wrested the seat by a margin of 92,11 votes. Mr. Ariff, three-time MLA from Aroor, foiled the UDF’s dream to capture all the 20 parliamentary seats in the state, and emerged the lone red star in the electoral battle defeating Shanimol Usman of the UDF. Mr Ariff maintained the lead right from the beginning of the counting against Ms Usman who was fielded in place of sitting MP K.C. Venugopal. Mr Venugopal had defeated LDF’s C.B. Chandrababu by a margin of 19,407 votes in 2014, while in 2009 he had wrested the seat from sitting MP K.S. Manoj of the CPM by a margin of 57,635 votes.
The UDF’s campaign here against the policies of the central and state governments, unlike in other constituencies, did not make an impact. BJP candidate K.S. Radhakrishnan, former PSC chairman and former vice-chancellor of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, was also a strong rival. As the two candidates of the major fronts belonged to the minority community, the consolidation of minority votes didn’t work for the UDF. Mr Ariff had also begun his campaign well ahead of the UDF. CPM district secretary R.Nazer said that the red soil of Punnapra and Vayalar had stood firm with the party. “The victory of LDF in Alappuzha is the result of a two-month- long disciplined campaign by the LDF,” he said. Since 1957, the Congress-led UDF had won the seat in most of the Lok Sabha polls. Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran was elected from here four times --1977, 1996, 1998 and 1999-- and Vakkom Purushothaman twice—1984 and 1989.
The CPM had secured the seat only thrice in the last ten Lok Sabha polls- 2004 (K. S. Manoj), 1991 (T. J. Anjalose) and 1980 (Suseela Gopalan).
Kunhalikutty keeps tradition
Riding on Rahul Gandhi wave, the UDF constituent Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has perked up its position in its bastion Malappuram with whopping margin breaking all records of the past. Party national general secretary P.K Kunhalikutty won the Malappuram seat with a margin of 2,60,153 votes which is only second to Rahul Gandhi’s 4.31 lakh winning margin in the state. Kunhalikutty bagged 5,89,873 votes against LDF’s relatively weak candidate V.P Sanu who bagged 3,29,720. As compared to the 2017 by election The LDF has lost more than 10,000 votes in Malappuram. Though Kunhalikutty had failed to maintain the record 2014 victory margin of his predecessor late E. Ahammed in 2017 by election, he claimed an all time record of more than 2.6 lakh this time. The BJP also improved its position in its best performance in Malappuram. BJP candidate V. Unnikrishnan bagged 82,332 votes. It was 65,675 in 2017 by election. A total of 10,32,596 votes polled in the constituency of which 4480 went for NOTA which is in fifth position.
Muslim fringe party SDPI candidate Abdul Majeed Faizy came fourth with 19,106 votes with a decrease of nearly half of their earlier vote share. The party had bagged 47,853 votes in 2014 elections.
Sudhakaran pays it back to Sreemathi
On the eve of the counting of votes, K. Sudhakaran had anticipated to get close to 50, 000 votes in Kannur Lok Sabha constituency. But when the final outcome was known, Sudhakaran had got a victory margin of 94, 559 votes against CPM’s sitting MP, P. K. Sreemathi. Sudhakaran was confident of winning from Kannur, which is the hotbed of CPM politics, from day one. He had been highlighting the violence of politics being practiced by the CPM and the recent killings of Youth Congress leaders, Kripesh and Sarathlal from Periya in Kasaragod. Also, Congress highlighted the earlier killing of Youth Congress leader, S. P. Shuhaib at Mattannur in Kannur early last year. This had put the CPM leadership under tremendous pressure. Former Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan was fielded as a candidate from Vatakara Lok Sabha seat which saw Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s private secretary M. V. Jayarajan taking over the district secretary’s post. But none of this helped the CPM in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sudhakaran had achieved lead in Airikkur, Azhikode, Kannur and Peravoor Assembly segments. However, this time the lead has been very few, Taliparamba (8), Irikkur (9), Azhikode (10), Kannur (11), Dharmadam (12), Mattannur (15), Peravoor (16).
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sreemathi had defeated Sudhakaran by a margin of 6,566 votes which was 0. 69 percent of the total votes polled in the constituency. CPM had a vote share of 45.15 percent in Kannur in the previous outing. BJP's C. K. Padmanabhan had got 68, 509 votes. The only consolation CKP can have is that he has bettered the BJP's previous outing by P. C. Mohanan Master's 51, 636 votes.