//Left wins in Kerala, retains Bengal, TN in coalition era

Left wins in Kerala, retains Bengal, TN in coalition era

NEW DELHI, MAY 11 (PTI)

In a stunning performance, the Left Front today dislodged Congress-led alliance in Kerala and won a massive victory in West Bengal in the assembly elections that saw the rout of of AIADMK in Tamil Nadu which will have a minority government for the first time.

Assam and Pondicherry, where Congress is in power, were also headed for coalition governments following a split verdict in which the party emerged as the single largest groups.

Continuing the cyclical pattern and the victory secured in the 2004 parliamentary elections, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) bagged 98 seats in the 140-member assembly, leaving just 42 to the opposition.

Congress, which had 77 members in the last assembly, shrunk to 24 and its allies IUML winning just seven of the 21 seats it contested. It had 16 seats in the last assembly.

Interest now centres around who will be the Chief Minister–whether it will be veteran V S Achuthanandan or Paloli Mohammed Kutty. The CPI(M) politburo is meeting in Delhi on Saturday to decide this.

In the other Left bastion West Bengal, the Communists retained their vice-like grip improving their performance with a three-fourths majority in the 294-member House and returning to power for the seventh consecutive term. With 178 seats, the CPI(M) on its own has a majority and the alliance secured 235 seats against Trinamool Congress' 29 and Congress' 21.

Tamil Nadu, known to giving the winning side sweeping victories, bucked the trend ushering in a coalition era unknown to the state. Four time Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who led his party and the alliance to victory, but DMK fell short of the magic figure of by 22 seats in a House of 224.

With letters and assurances of support from Left parties and PMK, 82-year-old Karunanidhi will stake claim tomorrow to form the government and is expected to be sworn in on Saturday.

It remains to be seen whether Congress, which was disloged from power by DMK in 1967 and has been out of it ever since in the state, would join the government or support it from outside. Congress leader Veerappa Moily is going to Chennai to talk to Karunanidhi and the issue will be thrashed out tomorrow.

Also for the first time in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK will become the opposition party to have 60 seats. Jayalalithaa has already resigned but said she has no regrets in shedding power and claimed she had worked in the best interests of the state.

In Assam, the ruling Congress failed to secure a majority bagging only 52 of the total of 126 seats and will have to scout for allies to form a government. The nascent AUDF, which has got ten seats, is one party that Congress will look up to for support but its leader has already set a condition that Tarun Gogoi should not be Chief Minister.

With letters and assurances of support from Left parties and PMK, 82-year-old Karunanidhi will stake claim tomorrow to form the government and is expected to be sworn in on Saturday.

It remains to be seen whether Congress, which was disloged from power by DMK in 1967 and has been out of it ever since in the state, would join the government or support it from outside. Congress leader Veerappa Moily is going to Chennai to talk to Karunanidhi and the issue will be thrashed out tomorrow.

Also for the first time in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK will become the opposition party to have 60 seats. Jayalalithaa has already resigned but said she has no regrets in shedding power and claimed she had worked in the best interests of the state.

http://www.outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?id=384168