[ Thursday, May 11, 2006 05:19:31 pmIANS ]
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), desperately trying to open its account in Kerala, termed its rout in the state as an "utter disappointment".
None of the BJP candidates won in the assembly elections.
The BJP's most favoured candidate O Rajgopal, a former central minister, was routed in Palakkad assembly constituency, finishing in the third position.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate KK Divakaran won the seat by 1,344 votes.
"It is an utter disappointment. We expected at least one seat," senior BJP leader Mukthar Abbas Naqvi said.
Naqvi refused to attribute any reason for the poor performance. "We will review the position and find out what has gone wrong."
Although the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) fielded candidates in almost all the 140 seats, Palakkad was one of the 17 seats the BJP had thought would fall in its lap.
BJP sources, however, blamed internal squabbling to the rout.
The BJP's vote share has seen on a slide since the 1987 assembly polls.
That year, the party managed a 6.47 per cent vote share, which went to 5.53 percent in 1991, went up marginally to 5.48 per cent in 1996 and again went down to 5.02 per cent in 2001.
Since 1987, the Manjeswaram seat from Kasaragod district has seen BJP candidates finish in the second place.
The BJP had also wanted to reduce a widely expected communist victory, if necessary by tacitly backing the Congress-led United Democratic Front.
In the 2004 parliamentary elections, BJP candidates bagged more than 25,000 votes each in seven assembly segments. In 33 segments the candidates scored more than 10,000 votes each and in 77 more than 5,000 each.