Pinarayi Vijayan slams UDF, alleges it had engaged in vote trading with BJP

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 3 (PTI): A day after leading the CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala to a historic win in the April 6 assembly polls, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday lashed out at the Congress-headed UDF alleging it had engaged in vote trading with the BJP to ensure more seats.

'The poll results have shown that UDF has been dealt a massive drubbing.But what we saw even during the counting day on May 2 was that they were extremely confident of winning the elections.This sort of confidence must have been due to the vote trading they had engaged with the BJP,' Vijayan told a meet-the-press programme here.

Vijayan attributed the UDF's victory in 10 seats, including Chalakudy, Kovalam, Kundara and Pala, to this'pact' with the BJP and allegedthat if such a deal had not taken place, the Congress-led front's debacle would have been far more severe.

The BJP leadership should probe the vote trade, he said.

The LDF had won 99 of the 140 seats to retain power, while the UDF could manage only 41 seats and BJP drew a blank.

In 2016, the left had secured 91 seats and the congress front 47, and BJP one.

Despite national leaders of the saffron party extensively campaigningin the state in the run up to the polls, in 90 of the 140 seats, the BJP's votes had dipped compared to the 2016 elections, he said, adding such a massive erosion ofvotes had never happened before in the state.

'Why only the BJP did not get the benefit of the increasein new voters?' he asked.

When there was a fall of about 4.28 lakh votes from the BJP's kitty this time, UDF had gained four lakh votes, the left leader alleged.

'The people want the social welfare schemes to continue so they have voted the LDF to power,' he said.

Asked about Nair Service Society leader G Sukumaran Nair's description of the April 6 election as a fight between believers and non-believers of Lord Ayyappa on the voting day, Vijayan said people have voted as per their conscience.

In this election, in all places, people wanted the LDF to come to power again, he claimed.

Kerala Law Minister A K Balan had filed a complaint with the Election Commission against Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and Sukumaran Nair for 'misusing the traditions and names of Gods in an unprecedented manner' on polling day.

On the exit polls results, which had allpointed to amassive victory for the left front, Vijayan said he had full faith in the people of the state.

' I was confident that LDF would win more seats this time from what it had secured in 2016.And this has happened', he said.

Various allegations were raised against the government by the UDF and the BJP to defame the government and the front. But people have an accurate perception about political partiesand leaders, he said.

A conscious effort was made to 'misguide' the people especially by raising allegations relating to the controversial deep sea fishing project with a USbased firm.A conspiracy had beenhatched and an inquiry on this will be held,he said.

Fisheries minister J Mercykutty, who lost in theelection from Kundara, had to pay the price due to the allegations, Vijayan claimed. PTI UDBN BALA UDBN BALA