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Kerala: Elections 2001

Countdown

Run up to elections 2001 - a chronological sequence for those who may have missed the unfolding drama

Countdown
Countdown
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April 7, 2001 - Veteran Congress leader K Karunakaran quits the party's working committee in protest against the denial of a seat to his daughter Padmaja Venugopal for the Assembly elections. Karunakaran alleges neglect of his group -- citing the allocation of 40 seats by the party high command to arch rival A.K. Antony's loyalists, compared to 34 seats allotted to his supporters.

Karunakaran says he would not withdraw the resignation under any circumstances.

April 8 - All India Congress Committee (AICC) rejects Karunakaran's resignation with party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad saying there is no question of accepting the resignation.

Karunakaran refuses to compromise and repeats his list of demands which include allocation of seven more seats for his faction leaders, appointment of his son and Member of Parliament, K. Muraleedharan, as president of the Kerala Congress Pradesh Committee and Antony not to be projected as chief ministerial candidate of the Congress-led United Democratic Front.

Congress high command deputes Ambika Soni, a confidante of Sonia Gandhi, to pacify Karunakaran.

April 9 - Congress leadership decides against sending Ambika Soni after Karunakaran's supporters announce they would not allow entry to any central leader into the state. The move is also interpreted as Sonia Gandhi's unwillingness to accept Karunakaran's demands.

April 10 - The feud worsens with Antony stating that the party high command could not accept Karunakaran's demands any more. Antony says he is not ready for a compromise as Karunakaran's "demands are impossible to meet at this juncture".

April 12 - Karunakaran issues a veiled threat to put up rebel candidates. Claims his statement on the need for unity among the groups had not been highlighted but that instead his remarks on not being "fully satisfied" with the AICC had been "blown up".

Congress announces that senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Motilal Vora would go to Trivandrum to pacify the former chief minister.

April 13 - Congress general secretaries, Motilal Vora and Ghulam Nabi Azad claim "most issues" being sorted out after holding talks with Karunakaran and Antony.

April 17 - Karunakaran welcomes the high command's decision to allot three more seats to his group but says he is undecided on taking back his resignation from the CWC.

April 25 - Karunakaran withdraws resignation from CWC after meeting Sonia Gandhi.

Kerala Congress (B) chief R Balakrishna Pillai’s nomination papers to his native Kottarakara seat in Kollam district accepted despite fears of being rejected.

April 26 – UDF releases manifesto with promises of employment in the agricultural and industrial sectors and a revival of the economy.

April 27 - KPCC expels four members after they file their papers as rebels -- Cherian Philip, Baby M Varghese, M A Wahid and K P Shaukat Ali.

BJP president Jana Krishnamurthy and general secretary Narendra Modi address rallies in different parts of the state.

April 28 – Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader S.M. Krishna joins UDF campaign

A.K. Antony attends the opening of Karunakaran’s daughter Padmaja’s studio.

April 29 – The Democratic Parliamentary Forum (DPF) of nine single-party and Independent members of Lok Sabha, with Kerala Congress (M) MP, P C Thomas as convenor is formed.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Railways, O Rajagopal, dismisses allegations of BJP-UDF tie-up.

April 30 - AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad announces in Kochi that UDF chief ministerial candidate will be decided by Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the May 10 Assembly elections in the State.

May 1 – Sonia hits the campain trail. Addressing a rally at the Sultan Bathery St Mary’s College Ground in Wayanad, accuses the LDF of having destroyed peace in the state and of putting Kerala behind other states in all aspects of development.

May 2 – Sonia denies any truck with BJP.

Officials seize campaign posters of Assembly Speaker and LDF's Thriuvanathapuram North candidate M.K. Vijayakumar while they were being taken out of the press of state-owned Audio-Visual and Reprographics Centre. Vijayaraghavan says it's a conspiracy.

The High Court accepts a writ petition filed against the election commission for removing the names of two lakh voters from the voters list. This was done following an EC order to remove the names of the dead and those who were not currently residents of Kerala.

May 4 - Caught in fierce contests, candidates in constituencies having substantial number of people working in the Middle East, have campaigns going there, to woo NRIs and their dependants in the state. Many candidates went and campaigned there before the election notification.

May 7 - Prime Minister Vajpayee says in Trivandrum the results of the Assembly polls would not affect the stability of the NDA government at the Centre. He says it would be wrong to perceive the elections as a referendum on the performance of the government.

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