KERALA

Winning with the highest margin

Euphoric: Congress candidate M.I. Shanavas who won the election from Wayanad greeting his supporters in Kalpetta on Saturday. –

Euphoric: Congress candidate M.I. Shanavas who won the election from Wayanad greeting his supporters in Kalpetta on Saturday. –   | Photo Credit: Photo: E.M. Manoj

Special Correspondent

UDF’s M.I. Shanavas gets a lead of 1,53,439 votes

Kalpetta: KPCC general secretary M.I. Shanavas started the electoral race with optimism as the regions falling under the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency has a history of backing the Congress party.

But, political observers term the margin of his victory, 1,53,439 votes, a surprise. UDF poll managers were guarded in their optimism about the prospects of their candidate in the initial stages of the campaign as the it was the LDF that had representation from the three Assembly segments of the constituency.

The triumph is also a personal victory for Mr. Shanavas, a native of Alappuzha, who suffered defeats in the elections he had contested earlier.

(The massive margin of 1,53,439 is the highest for the UDF in this election in the State.) he will be the first person to represent the newly formed constituency.

An LDF poll manager attributed the defeat of LDF candidate M. Rahmatulla of the CPI’s to the ‘anti-LDF mood.’

“Christian religious leaders were not happy with the CPI(M). This worked against us in Wayanad,” he said. The LDF’s estrangement from the Janata Dal(S) also influenced the voting, he said.

The Wayanad verdict also confirms the popular belief that the constituency, carved out of Wayand and Malappuram districts, is a ‘safe seat’ for the UDF.

Murali’s hopes

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) State president K. Muraleedharan has reasons to feel dismayed. His tally fell far short of expectations.

Mr. Muraleedharan was widely expected to garner a good number of votes as had represented the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency which includes the Assembly segments Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery.

“It was a strong fight that the NCP put up in Wayanad. The party contested alone and secured 99,663 votes. Our performance would strengthen our confidence,” Mr. Muraleedharan said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s C. Vasudevan polled only 31,687 votes.

The defeat of M. Rahmatulla is being seen as a setback to the CPI as the party was forced to accept Wayanad instead of Ponnani.

CPI’s hoped that Mr. Rahmatulla would be able to pull off an upset win with the backing of the farmer community.

Wayanad has 10, 93,324 voters and 80,000 of them belong to the scheduled tribes category.

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