BJP, Congress hit back at Pinarayi, say CPM traded votes

Yet to decide on CM candidate for Kerala, says BJP's Surendran

Thiruvananthapuram/Kozhikode: The Congress-led UDF and the BJP on Tuesday dismissed the allegations by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that they had engaged in vote trading during the April 6 Assembly polls.

Vijayan had told reporters on Monday that the Congress had engaged in vote trading with the saffron party to ensure more seats in various constituencies.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala denied the allegation saying the deal was between the CPI(M) and the BJP in 69 seats and it was due to the opposition front's efforts that the BJP could not win even a single seat.

"It was to hide the vote trade in the Left front that the chief minister had come out with such allegation," Chennithala said in a statement.

In Nemom, Palakkad and Manjeshwar constituencies, the BJP had expressed confidence of winning. Here, the BJP's march was halted by the UDF candidates, the opposition leader pointed out.

BJP state president K Surendran also dismissed as baseless the allegation and said Vijayan should not speak like a party secretary.

Denying the allegations, Surendran told reporters in Kozhikode that it was always better that leaders remember the election history of their own party when making allegations.

He took a dig at Vijayan asking whether a sharp fall in the vote-share of the CPI(M), vis-a-vis the LDF, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was due to vote trade with UDF.

The LDF lost more than eight per cent of votes in 2019 compared to what they secured in 2014, he said.

"In fact it was the other way round that the CPI(M) had diverted votes in favour of the UDF candidate where the BJP was hoping for a sure victory. The statement by law minister A K Balan that Shafi Parambil of the Congress was a better choice than the BJP's E Sreedharan in Palakkad, was a pointer to this adjustment," Surendran said.

Accusing the CPI(M) of successfully playing the Muslim card in the polls, Surendran cautioned that the state was heading for a communal consolidation in the days to come.

The Muslim votes were consolidated to ensure the victory of Muslim candidates, irrespective of the front.

This has happened in Kalpetta and Beypore where the Muslim voters cross-voted, he said.

Vijayan had said "even during the counting day on May 2, the UDF was extremely confident of winning the elections. This sort of confidence must have been due to the vote trade they had engaged with the BJP," Vijayan said at a meet-the- press programme here on Monday and attributed the UDF's victory in 10 seats, including Chalakudy, Kovalam, Kundara and Pala, to this pact with the BJP.

If such a deal had not taken place, the Congress-led front's debacle would have been far more severe, he had said.

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

In 2016, the Left Front had secured 91 seats and the Congress front won 47 and the BJP one seat.

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