Day after big win, Kerala CM Pinarayi alleges vote trading between UDF and BJP

In the April Assembly election, the LDF won 99 of the 140 seats to retain power, while the UDF could manage only 41 seats and the BJP drew a blank.
Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi Vijayan
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A day after leading the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (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 United Democratic Front (UDF) alleging it had engaged in vote trading with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to ensure more seats.

"The poll results have shown that the 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 in with the BJP," Pinarayi Vijayan told a meet-the-press programme in Thiruvananthapuram.

He attributed the UDF's victory in 10 seats, including Chalakkudy, Kovalam, Kundara and Pala, to this "pact" with the BJP and alleged that 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 won 99 of the 140 seats to retain power, while the UDF could manage only 41 seats and the BJP drew a blank.

In 2016, the Left had secured 91 seats and the Congress front 47, while the BJP got its first ever seat in Kerala.

Despite national leaders of the saffron party extensively campaigning in 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 that such a massive erosion of votes had never happened before in the state.

"Why only the BJP did not get the benefit of the increase in new voters?" he asked.

When there was a fall of about 4.28 lakh votes from the BJP's kitty this time, the 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 (NSS) 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, Pinarayi said that 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 AK 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.

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

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

Fisheries minister J Mercykutty, who lost in the election from Kundara, had to pay the price due to the allegations, Pinarayi claimed.

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