Murder claims LDF scalp in UDF win
By Express News Service - TIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Published: 17th Jun 2012 11:19:39 AM
Inflicting a heavy blow upon the CPI(M), R Selvaraj, who had stirred a hornet’s nest by quitting his Assembly membership and subsequently migrating to the Congress, has won the bypoll from the same Neyyattinkara segment with an emphatic margin.
Selvaraj won by 6,334 votes. While R Selvaraj polled 52,528 votes, F Lawrence of CPI(M), his immediate rival, scored 46,194. The BJP’s O Rajagopal put up a strong showing capturing a record 30,507 votes as against the 6,730 votes the party had secured in the 2011 elections. The margin of victory of Selvaraj at that time when he was a CPI(M) candidate was 6,702 votes. The result, which is a strong repudiation of the murder politics that has shaken Keralites, has been influenced by caste and communal factors in the constituency. With Selvaraj in its fold, the UDF has 73 MLAs in the Assembly and the LDF 67. The counting was as gripping as the battle that preceded it with fortune swinging from one candidate to the other.
Initially, Selvaraj trailed behind Lawrence and Rajagopal till one-third votes were counted. When counting in the Athiyanoor grama panchayat followed by the Neyyatinkara municipality was taken up, it was neck-and-neck race between Lawrence and Rajagopal. But things began to change in favour of Selvaraj from the last lap of the fifth round when he took a lead of two votes. Thereafter, he was ahead in all the rest of the total 143 booths in the segment. It was a virtual sweep for Selvaraj in the Nadar community- dominated Tirupuram and Chengal grama panchayats. In Kulathoor and Karode, the home ground of Lawrence, the UDF stood its ground.
The UDF victory is sweeter as it comes after a resounding win in the Piravom bypoll a few months ago. The bypoll necessitated by the resignation of Selvaraj from the CPM had attracted national attention following the impact of the murder of RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan and the ‘murderous’ speech made by CPM leader M M Mani.
A host of other topics like charges of horse-trading and IUML’s fifth minister issue got mixed up in the campaign along with the inner party fight between V S Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan. Even VS visit to TP’s house on the polling day was said to have favoured the UDF.
A jubilant UDF camp on Friday claimed that the Neyyatinkara bypoll result was people’s verdict in support of the policies of the ruling UDF and alleged that the CPI(M) had moved away from the people by adopting political violence.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the victory of Selvaraj was a recognition to the UDF Government. “The entire UDF worked in unity for the election and the victory in Neyyatinkara elections is an appreciation of the people of Kerala for the UDF Government that has completed a year. The victory has strengthened the UDF Government and has given us confidence to go ahead with the developmental projects that we have started,” said Chandy.
KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said that it was a verdict of the people against the political murders carried out by the CPM. “With the verdict, people have unmasked the CPI(M) and its wrong political polices based on violence. It is also a token of approval for the UDF Government led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy,” said Chennithala. Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani said that taking the responsibility of the two consecutive defeats at Piravom and Neyyatinkara bypolls, the CPI(M) leadership should quit.
Union Minister of State for Power K C Venugopal, Transport Minister V S Shivakumar and other UDF Ministers also opined that Neyyatinkara victory is a befitting reply to the political violence unleashed by CPI(M).