Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Riding on a massive anti-Left Democratic Front (LDF) wave, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has registered a thumping win in the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala, securing 16 out of the 20 seats in the State.

The Opposition alliance has inflicted humiliating defeats on the CPI(M) in its bastion of Vadakara and wrested Left strongholds Kannur and Kozhikode from it. The UDF has also registered convincing wins in most other constituencies, including the controversy-marred Ponnani. The CPI, has drawn a blank. So has the Kerala Congress (J), which had contested one seat. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a UDF constituent, has made a strong comeback winning both its prestigious seats.

While the UDF’s victory margins in most constituencies are in excess of 70,000 votes, the LDF’s wins are far from spectacular. The seats won by the UDF are Kannur, Vadakara, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Ponnani, Thrissur, Chalakudy, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Mavelikara, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. The four seats that the CPI(M) has won are Kasaragod, Palakkad, Alathur and Attingal. Three of the winning Congress candidates are currently members of the Kerala Legislative Assembly.

Spectacular wins

The most spectacular victories for the UDF were in Kannur where K. Sudhakaran, currently a member of the Assembly, trounced former Students Federation of India (SFI) president K.K. Ragesh by a margin of 43,151 votes and in Vadakara where former Union Minister Mullappally Ramachandran defeated P. Sathi Devi of the CPI(M) by 56,186 votes. M.K. Raghavan of the Congress wre sted Kozhikode, which has become a bastion of the CPI(M) following the delimitation of constituencies, defeating district-level DYFI leader Mohammed Riyaz by a margin of 838 votes, the slenderest for any candidate in the State. Writer and former U.N. Under Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor scored an impressive win in Thiruvananthapuram against his CPI rival P. Ramachandran Nair for the Congress with a margin of 99,998 votes.

In Wayanad, KPCC vice-president M. I. Shanavas emerged victorious over his CPI rival M. Rahmatulla with a huge margin of 1,53,439 votes.

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