Thiruvananthapuram, May 28 : Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has rejected suggestions that the LDF’s drubbing in the lok sabha polls is a reflection of the public’s lack of confidence in the state government.
Amidst opposition UDF’s calls for him to step down taking moral responsibility for the poll debacle, Mr. Vijayan told reporters on Saturday that the electoral setback was only transient.
The results were unexpected but the setback is only a temporary one, he said, dismissing suggestions that the election results were a referendum on his government.
Touching on the reasons for the LDF’s dismal showing in the polls, he admitted that the arrival of congress national president Rahul Gandhi into the electoral arena of Kerala through Wayanad constituency resulted in a massive shift of votes towards the UDF.
Clearly smarting from the sound defeat in the polls, Mr. Vijayan reiterated the charge that Mr. Gandhi chose to contest from Kerala fearing defeat in Amethi. The left charge against Gandhi proved prescient though, as the congress president suffered a shock defeat in his family pocket borough Amethi at the hands of BJP’s Smriti Irani.
A defiant Pinarayi Vijayan, however, refused to accept that the LDF’s stand on Sabarimala proved decisive in its electoral decimation.
If Sabarimala were a factor, then BJP should have been the principal beneficiary but the saffron outfit’s candidate K Surendran was pushed to third position in Pathanamthitta constituency, the epicenter of the Sabarimala agitation, he pointed out.
The chief minister also echoed the conclusion of the CPI(M) secretariat that the congress succeeded in engineering a consolidation of minority votes in its favor by projecting itself as an alternative to the BJP at the national level.
Mr. Vijayan also asserted that he would not change his style of functioning owing to the LDF’s electoral setback. “My style would be the same. I made it this far by virtue of the same style of functioning and I do not intent to change it,” he told reporters.
The CPI(M) hardliner’s rather combative style of functioning as chief minister had drawn flak from some quarters with opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and congress Kerala unit president Mullappally Ramachandran both attributing the LDF’s poll debacle to the chief minister’s arrogance.
The CPI(M)-led LDF was virtually decimated in the lok sabha polls as the coalition was able to win only one of the 20 seats up for grabs in Kerala. The congress-led UDF rode on the crest of a wave created by Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad, winning 19 seats. The UDF secured majorities in 123 assembly constituencies in the state, reflecting the scale of their dominance.