Surendran counters CM’s charge on vote trading

Responding to the allegations raised by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had traded votes with the United Democratic Front (UDF) nominees in the Assembly polls, BJP State president K. Surendran sought a clarification from Mr. Vijayan on the massive erosion of votes of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

At a news conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Surendran said Mr. Vijayan’s statement was unbecoming of a Chief Minister. He should not behave like a party secretary, he said.

He said the CPI(M) was the biggest voter trader if the loss of votes in an election was considered vote trading. “Was it vote trading when the CPI(M) lost 2,000 votes in Manjeswaram, when the constituency polled 10,000 votes more than last time? Similarly in Palakkad, the CPI(M) lost 2,000 votes when the constituency polled over 5,000 votes more. Did the CPI(M) transfer votes to Shafi Parambil of the Congress to defeat the BJP’s E. Sreedharan,” Mr. Surendran asked.

The LDF had garnered 79,047 votes in Kundara in the 2016 Assembly polls. The votes dwindled to 54,908 in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. “Did the CPI (M) transfer the 20,000 votes to the UDF candidate,” he asked.

In Nemom, he said, LDF got 59,142 votes in the 2016 Assembly polls and 33,921 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He said the SDPI district president had publicly stated that the party had transferred 10,000 votes in Nemom to CPI(M) candidate V. Sivankutty to defeat the BJP this time. The LDF came to power only through communal polarisation, by garnering the support of Muslim extremist elements, Mr. Surendran alleged.

He said the same pattern could be seen in Thripunithura with the LDF getting 62,697 votes in 2016. The number dwindled to 52,404 in the Lok Sabha polls. Similar was the case in Koyilandy, Kuttiyadi, and Thavanur, he said.

Mr. Surendran said he accepted responsibility for the party’s defeat in the Assembly polls. He added that he would rectify the political and organisational weaknesses of the party.

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