Kerala poll campaign ends, rival fronts exude confidence of winning

Thiruvananthapuram, May 14 (IANS) Nearly three weeks of high-voltage election campaigning for the Kerala assembly polls ended on Saturday evening with the two rival fronts – the ruling Congress-led UDF and the Left opposition — exuding confidence of garnering peoples’ votes on polling day on Monday.

Incidentally, former defence minister A.K. Antony, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, all said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not open its account in the state.

“History will be created on May 19, when for the first time a ruling government will retain power. The BJP in Kerala will be able to watch the assembly proceedings from the visitor’s gallery of the Kerala assembly only. The final surge for the UDF has come following the irresponsible statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We all thought he would correct himself, which he did not,” said Antony to reporters here.

Yechury while emphasising that the BJP will not open its account, however said that should that happen, then it will be clear that this is because of “match-fixing between the Congress and the BJP”.

“We are going to have a landslide victory and will restore Kerala to a proper path of growth and one with a holistic development process; besides we will put up a corruption free governance,” said Yechury to reporters here.

BJP chief Amit Shah, who has been camping in the state for the past many days and directing the campaign, challenged the rival fronts to come clear on what their policy would be if there is a hung Kerala assembly.

“We make our stand clear now itself, that we will not have any tie-up with either of the fronts,” said Shah.

Chandy told reporters in Kottayam that Kerala will not give any space to the “divisive policy” of the BJP. “The people of Kerala will give a fitting reply to Modi for his Somalia remarks. We are going to retain power with an increased tally of seats,” Chandy asserted.

Meanwhile, the state unit of the BJP on Saturday gave a complaint to Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam and the Chief Election Commissioner that Chandy has “twisted” the statement of Modi on Somalia to “belittle the post of prime minister” and suitable action should be taken.

“Modi never made any derogatory comparison, but all know that such a comparison was made by former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan and CPI-M politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, and instead of registering a case against them, Chandy is attacking the PM,” said the complaint by state BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters in Kannur that the Left Democratic Front will better its 2006 win by increasing from 98 seats to a three digit figure.

On the flip side, tempers rose when K.K. Rema, wife of former CPI-M leader T.P. Chandrasekheran who was brutally murdered in 2012 by CPI-M activists, was manhandled while she, a candidate from the Vatakara assembly constituency in Kozhikode district, was engaged in campaigning for votes in her constituency.

While the Congress leadership came down heavily on the attack, top CPI-M leader and former state minister Elamaram Karim said this was a “stage managed event” that Rema and the Congress had planned.

–IANS

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