KERALA

M.K. Raghavan scrapes through in Kozhikode

Staff Reporter

Lead of 12,000 in Koduvally helps him grab the seat



Wins by a thin margin of 838 votes

Janata Dal(S) votes have proved crucial



Kozhikode: M.K. Raghavan, Congress candidate, has defeated P.A. Mohammed Riyaz of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) by a thin margin of 838 votes in the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency, showing how keenly the April 16 Lok Sabha election had been contested here.

When the counting of votes was completed on Saturday, Mr. Raghavan secured 3,42,309 votes, Mr. Riyaz, 3,41,471 and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate V. Muraleedharan, 89,718.

Mr. Raghavan came first in Koduvally, Kozhikode South and Kozhikode North Assembly segments. Mr. Riyaz led in Kunnamangalam, Beypore, Elathur and Balussery.

Mr. Raghavan got 52,862 votes from Koduvally; 53,066 from Kunnamangalam; 45,365 from Beypore; 41,931 from Kozhikode South; 41,662 from Kozhikode North; 47,312 from Elathur; and 58,846 from Balussery.

Mr. Riyaz got 40,018 votes from Koduvally; 54,462 from Kunnamangalam; 49,926 from Beypore; 37,150 from Kozhikode South; 39,800 from Kozhikode North; 55,048 from Elathur; and 63,654 from Balussery.

The Congress got 1,265 postal votes, the CPI(M), 1,413 and the BJP, 151.

Mr. Raghavan maintained lead over his nearest rival right from the start of counting. His lead was 5,956 when 50 per cent of the votes were counted. His margin climbed up to 8,060 when 80 per cent of the votes were counted. But the lead dwindled and reached 1,065 when it reached 91 per cent. The leads oscillated between 1,000 and 3,000 votes towards the end of counting, giving anxious moments to both candidates.

Anti-CPI(M) votes

Congress party managers attributed the victory of Mr. Raghavan to the anti-CPI(M) votes he could muster from the constituency. Besides, he garnered votes of the Janata Dal (S), which was denied a chance to contest the Kozhikode seat this time by the CPI(M). The full backing of the United Democratic Front constituents made him succeed in this Left stronghold. This was evident from the over 12,000 lead he got in the Koduvally segment, they said.

Mr. Raghavan, a Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary from Kannur and supporter of A.K. Antony in the party, has been able to strike a chord with the masses right from the announcement of his candidature. A section of the Congress workers owning allegiance to a few leaders initially kept away from his campaign.

The defeat of Mr. Riyaz, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) district president, has come as a shock to the CPI(M), which had thought that any party nominee could win the seat post-delimitation.

Some party leaders say the party made a wrong choice in fielding Mr. Riyaz. The CPI(M) district committee had opposed his candidature, but the State leadership vetoed this decision, leading to disgruntlement among the rank and file.

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