Kannur, Jun 5 (PTI) Dealing a sever blow to ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala, CPI(M)-controlled Left Democratic Front (LDF) today retained the Koothuparamba and Azhikode assembly seats with historic wins in the by-polls held in the Marxist heartland of Kannur district. While CPI-M nominee P Jayarajan pulverised Congress's K Prabhakaran in Koothuparamba defending the seat by a margin of 45,406 votes, his party colleague M Prakasan triumphed in nearby Azhikode trouncing his CMP rival C A Ajeer by an impressive margin of 26,376 votes. LDF not only considerably improved on its performance of 2001 assembly polls but even bettered its lead of the last year's Lok Sabha polls in the two segments, when the Congress drew a blank in the state.
Held close on the heels of the Congress split in the state caused by veteran leader K Karunakaran and desertion of two minor partners from the ruling front, the by-poll results dashed UDF's hope of at least reducing its rival's winning margin.
The two by-polls also attracted added attention as the BJP did not put up nominees, triggering the charge that the saffron party had been hand-in-glove with the UDF.
The fledgling National Congress (Indira) floated by Karunakaran had thrown its weight behind LDF, making it clear that its prime aim for the time being is to embarrass the UDF government led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
In 2001, CPI-M won Koothuparmba with a margin of 19,000 votes and Azhikode with a margin of 9,000 votes.