Thrissur (Kerala) | A political row has erupted in Kerala over an election in a government-aided college where a nominee of the Students' Federation of India (SFI), the students' wing of the ruling CPI(M), was declared as chairman through a midnight recounting of votes.
The Kerala Varma College here witnessed dramatic scenes on Wednesday as the Kerala Students' Union (KSU), the students' wing of the opposition Congress, alleged sabotage by the Left student organisation during the recounting of votes to ensure its chairman candidate in the election.
SFI denied the allegations.
KSU claimed that its chairman candidate had won the key post by one vote against the SFI nominee.
KSU said its candidate, Sreekuttan Sivadasan, a blind student, had ended the four-decade-long reign of SFI in the college by defeating its candidate, Anirudhan, in a neck-to-neck race.
Jubilant KSU workers celebrated Sivadasan's victory by raising slogans and distributing sweets in the college, managed by the Cochin Devaswom Board.
Stung by the unexpected turn of events, the SFI activists demanded a recount of votes, which was finally agreed upon by the management.
Though a recounting of votes was held in the evening, it was stopped midway following the protest by KSU activists.
They alleged that the returning officer was the leader of a pro-Left union.
When the result of the recounting was announced at midnight, Anirudhan was declared the winner by a margin of 11 votes.
Coming down heavily on the recounting, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, V D Satheesan, termed it a "sabotage" of the democratic victory.
In a hard-hitting statement, he said that Sivadasan's victory was the victory of democracy, and it was the decision of the students of the Kerala Varma College.
But the SFI, which could not accept KSU's victory, sabotaged it through a midnight recounting, he alleged.
Some politically biased faculty of the college also supported it, he further charged.
The power supply had gone twice during the time of recounting, and SFI activists, who rushed to the hall, "butchered democracy" by the time, he alleged.
The fight, showcased by Sivadasan and the KSU, would remain an unparalleled episode in the history of the college, the LoP added.
However, the SFI leadership denied the charges and claimed that they demanded recounting as both candidates garnered equal numbers of votes.