R. Madhavan Nair
Party worker say resentment against pact with Congress did it in
KOZHIKODE: Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) president K. Muraleedharan's poll managers are trying hard to figure out what caused his shocking defeat in Koduvally, an Assembly constituency that had so far been a safe seat for the United Democratic Front (UDF).
Was it the "pro-LDF mood" that was in evidence in most places in the State that had fashioned the 7,506-vote victory of LDF-supported Independent P.T.A. Rahim? Or, was it a shortfall in votes of the Congress and DIC(K) supporters?
Many have veered round to the view that Mr. Muraleedharan had not been able to win all the votes of his own party men as well as Congress workers in Koduvally.
Said DIC(K) vice-president and former Minister P. Sankaran, "It is now clear as daylight that our decision to enter into an alliance with the UDF for the Assembly polls had generated resentment in both the Congress and DIC(K). And this resentment impacted adversely on the election results."
A good number of DIC(K) supporters wanted the party to go it alone, instead of joining hands with the UDF, even though there was little chance of winning any seat, he said.
The elections to local bodies a few months ago had witnessed a bitter rivalry between supporters of the DIC(K) and Congress, as the former was with the LDF. There was not sufficient time for the two groups to bury their differences and work as a team in the Assembly elections, said sources.
The Indian Union Muslim League's (IUML) poll managers believe Mr. Muraleedharan's downfall was brought about by his own party men. Narikuni, Madavoor, Unnikulam and Kizhakkoth, the panchayats in Koduvally constituency where the IUML has a strong presence, had given Mr. Muraleedharan leads ranging from 214 to 768. But in Kakkoor, Chelannur and Kakkodi, where the Congress and DIC(K) have considerable influence, Mr Rahim's lead ranged from 189 to as big as 4,912. Also significant is the fact that the DIC(K), in alliance with the LDF, is in power in Kakkoor and Chelannur panchayats.
In the panchayat polls, the LDF had a lead of nearly 25,000 in the eight panchayats in Koduvally Assembly segment, while in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the LDF had a lead of about 9,500 in the Koduvally Assembly segment.
There were two other persons by the name of Muraleedharan in the fray in Koduvally. Together they polled 4,432 votes.
The defeat, fourth since his entry into politics, is definitely a matter for deep introspection for Mr. Muraleedharan and his supporters as they sit down to decide on whether to merge with the Congress or not.
This is Mr. Muraleedharan's fourth defeat in the hustings, after he made a spectacular debut in politics by defeating Marxist veteran Imbichiava in a Lok Sabha poll in 1989 in Kozhikode .Since then, his political fortunes have been marked by ups and downs.
He had lost the elections to the Lok Sabha later from Kozhikode and Thrissur constituencies and a by-election to State Assembly from Wadakkancherry before the debacle at Koduvally.
The defeat came as a surprise, as C. Mamootty contesting under UDF banner had won the last Assembly polls in 2001 by a comfortable margin of 16,877.
Mr Rahim, whose win over Mr. Muraledharan has made him a star among winners in the election, said the erosion of support for the IUML because of disenchantment of party supporters with their leadership was a major factor that contributed to the defeat of DIC(K) president.