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Cong's historical defeat in Kerala

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 14, 2004 14:03 IST
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For the first time in Kerala's electoral history, the Congress drew a complete blank in the Lok Sabha election.

Party nominees were drubbed in all 17 seats the Congress contested. The defeated candidates included five MPs of the outgoing 13th Lok Sabha, and high profile candidates such as senior leader K Karunakaran's daughter Padmaja Venugopal from Mukundapuram.

Even in 1967, which ranked as the party's worst performance in a national election till date, the Congress had managed to win one seat.

The humiliation for the three-year-old UDF government led by Chief Minister A K Antony was complete when State Electricity Minister K Muraleedharan lost the Wadakkancherry assembly seat in a grimly fought by-election.

Muraleedharan, Karunakaran's son, was humbled by AC Moideen of the CPI-M, by a margin of 3,715 votes, in what was seen as a UDF bastion.

The by-election was necessitated when, some three months previously, Murleedharan was hastily inducted into the Antony cabinet as part of a patch-up deal struck with his bete noire Karunakaran.

The results overall reflected the resentment against the three-year old Antony-led government, and the impact of unabated infighting in the state unit of the Congress.

Of the 20 seats on offer in the state, the rival LDF won five seats, and is leading in 14 others. Though the BJP is yet to break its jinx in the state, its ally the IFDP won Muvattupuzha when Union Minister P C Thomas defeated his LDF rival PM Ismail by a narrow 529-vote margin.

For the UDF, the sole comfort was IUML leader E Ahmed winning Ponnani by 1,02,759 votes, over the CPI's PP Suneer. The IUML however was shocked in Manjeri, a traditional stronghold, when its nominee KPA Majeed lost to TK Hamsa of the CPM by over 48,178.

The LDF retained Ernakulam (Sebastian Paul), Kozhikode (Veerendrakumar), Chirayinkil (Varkala Radhakrishnan) and Lonappan Nambadan (Mukundapuram).

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