LDF scripts history in Ker; Retains power winning 99 seats,

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BJP loses lone seat, UDF wins 40 Thiruvananthapuram, May 2 (PTI): In a stunning electoral victory,the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) rode back to power in Kerala winning 99 of the 140 seats, bucking the over four decade long trend of Communists and Congress led UDF coming to power alternatively.

While the BJP-NDA came a cropper, the UDF won 40 seats and was leading in one.

The results dealt a huge blow to the opposition UDF, which was hoping to sail to power, and it could garner only 41 seats while the BJP had to forgo even the lone seat--Nemom-- it captured in the 2016 elections.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan won by a huge margin of 50,123 votes.

His cabinet colleagues-- K K Shailaja, M M Mani, A C Moideen, KadakampallySurendran, Kadannappally Ramachandran, K Krishnankutty, T P Ramakrishnan and K Chandrasekharan were among the winners.

Health minister Shailaja, who won global acclaim for her effective intervention during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic, trounced her opponentwith a record margin of 60,963 votes.

K T Jaleel, who had to resign as Higher Education minister following Nepotism charges, managed to win from Thavanur.

However, in a setback, Fisheries minister J Mercykutty Amma lost to P C Vishnunath (Congress) in Kundara.

Prominentwinners from the UDF camp were Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy,former minister Anoop Jacob, M K Muneer and K K Rema, the RevolutionaryMarxist Party leader backed by the front.

Among the prominentlosers were Former Union minister K J Alphons, 'Metroman' E Sreedharan, BJP state president K Surendran, Kummanam Rajashekharan, Rajya Sabha MP and actor Suresh Gopi, M V Shreyams Kumar, K Muraleedharan, V T Balaram, Padmaja Venugopal, K M Shaji, and former DGP Jacob Thomas.

Sreedharan, who was fielded by BJP from Palakkad, was defeatedby Youth congress state president Shafi Parambil, for whom the victory was doubly sweet as it was a hat trick of wins.

Eighty eight year-old Sreedharan had maintained the lead throughout, but luck did not favourhim in the end, as his dream of sailing to the state assembly did not materialise.

BJP state chief K Surendran's gamble of contesting from the twin constituencies--Manjeswaram and Konni, did not pay off and he had to bite the dust.

The saffron party, which fielded former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajashekharan fromNemom, hoping to replicate its success, also failed in the mission.

In the 2016 elections, former Union minister O Rajagopal had won the seat for the BJP and helped the lotus to bloom in the southern state.

The LDF camp suffered a blow when Jose K Mani, Kerala Congress (M) leader, lost in Pala to sitting MLA Mani C Kappan of the UDF.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers-- Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman, were among those who had campaigned extensively for the party.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi,who is the Wayanad MP, had also actively campaigned for the UDF candidates.PTI UD LGK APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR