A day after its emphatic comeback, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has chosen CPI (M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan as the next Chief Minister of Kerala. The deliberations had begun in the victorious camp early on Friday with CPI (M) secretariat and party’s Kerala unit meeting to elect its leader. The two men believed to be in the fray were – Pinrayi Vijayan and 92-year-old former CM VS Achutanandan. CPI (M) chief Sitaram Yechury made an official announcement ratifying state secretariat’s decision.
Meanwhile, the outgoing CM Oommen Chandy submitted his resignation to the Governor earlier in the day.
In a state which has never re-elected the ruling combine since 1980, CPI (M)-led LDF won 91 seats in a 140-member assembly. The Congress-led UDF suffered embarrassment securing just 47 seats.
Speaking to the press outside Governor’s house in the state capital, Chandy said UDF and Congress would be meeting next week to discuss the poll debacle and take stock of the situation.
“This is only a temporary phenomena and Congress will come back with strength,” 72-year-old Chandy said, adding, “the party and Front have the responsibility for the setback, but as chairman of UDF, I have more responsibility”.
On reports that he was not willing to take up the post of Leader of Opposition, he said, “It is a matter to be discussed at the party level. I have nothing more to say.”
Oommen Chandy, who is thus far the only Congress chief minister to have completed the five-year term in office, had faced cloud of charges from bar bribery case to solar scam in the run-up to polls.
He had wrested his hopes on the alcohol prohibition policy, which was tipped to be popular among the women voters. That, however, has to be seen once the thorough analysis is out. But the beating its image took due to the corruption issue seems to have impacted its performance.
The assembly election results, at the same time, gave BJP a reason to rejoice as it won a seat in the southernmost state first time in a history. Veteran leader and former Union minister O Rajagopal won from Nemom.
The BJP-led NDA combine also secured nearly 14% votes, including 3.9% secured by its ally BDJS.
On the other hand, defying apprehensions of any impact on its tally due to the entry of third force in the shape of BJP-led NDA, the LDF gave a much needed cheer to the Left front. CPI (M) veteran VS Achuthanandan won by 23,142 votes in Malampuzha, while Pinarayi Vijayan won from Dharamadom.
“The results are a verdict against corruption and misrule of UDF for a secular and corruption-free Kerala,” said Vijayan after the polls.