LDF wins Chengannur by-election with thumping majority
LDF wins Chengannur by-election with thumping majority DECCAN CHRONICLE.Published Jun 1, 2018, 1:46 am ISTUpdated Jun 1, 2018, 1:46 am IST The last-minute support offered by the Kerala Congress (M) did not make any change in the fortunes of Mr Vijayakumar. Saji Cherian, the LDF candidate from Chengannur who won the bypoll on Thursday, takes out a victory rally in his constituency. (Photo: DC)
AL APPUZHA: The LDF swept to a massive victory in Chengannur on Thursday with its candidate Saji Cherian being elected with a record margin of 20,956 votes leaving his rivals D. Vijayakumar of the UDF and P.S. Sreedharan Pillai of the NDA way behind. While Mr Saji Cherian secured 67,303 votes, Mr Vijayakumar bagged 46,347 and Mr Sreedharan Pillai 35, 270. Compared to the 2016 election, the CPM increased its vote share by 14,423 and the Congress by 1,450, but the BJP suffered an erosion of 7,412 votes.
The thumping victory margin surprised even the LDF camp which attributed the historic show to the trust the voters had reposed in the Pinarayi Vijayan government. However, the UDF and the BJP said the LDF had played the communal card. Mr Cherian, also the district secretary of the party, could rope in a large section of the Christian community and new voters. Besides, the BDJS had distanced itself from the BJP campaign. The last-minute support offered by the Kerala Co ngress (M) did not make any change in the fortunes of Mr Vijayakumar.
From the beginning of the counting, the LDF established its sway over all the 10 panchayats, including UDF bastions like Pandanad and Chengannur municipality where the UDF had gained majority in 2016. At 11 am itself, Mr Cherian breached the victory margin registered by former CPM MLA Ramachandran Nair (7,983) in 2016. At no point during the counting was there any challenge to Mr Cherian from the UDF or the NDA.
When the result was declared by 12.30 pm, Mr Cherian had broken the previous record victory margin of 15,703 set by Congress (S)âs Mammen Ipe in 1987. The LDF got a majority of 2,629 votes in 14 booths of the UDF- ruling Mannar panchayat when counting began. Venmony panchayat, the native place of Mr P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, being ruled by the UDF, gave a clear margin of 3,203 to the LDF.
UDF strongholds like Ala (margin-866), Pandanad (498) and Chengannur municipal ity (753) didnât come to the rescue of Mr Vijayakumar. In the Thiruvanvandoor panchayat, where the BJP is the single largest party and which it had ruled till 2016, the LDF had a lead of 10 votes. Mulakkuzha, the home panchayat of Mr Cherian, gave him the highest margin of 3,637 votes. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithalaâs home panchayat let him down.
In Chennithala panchayat, the LDF led by 2,353 votes. Mr Chennithala also faced debacle in booth 130 at Thriperumthura where he had cast his vote. The LDF secured a lead of 170 votes there. The lead of Mr Cherian in Puliyoor, the home panchayat of the UDF candidate, was 637. Mr Cherian acknowledged that people from all walks of life had voted f or him. âMy victory is a report card of the Pinarayi Vijayan government,â he said. âThis is a victory beyond my imagination. I had expected 60,000 votes. The result shows Christian, Ezhava and Nair voters backed me,â he said.
Mr Ramesh Chennithala sai d the UDF had not lost its base in Chengannur and asked the LDF not to be arrogant about the victory. âThis is not a report card of the government. The LDF won playing the communal card and exploiting government machinery. The anti-people policies of the government didnât reflect in Chengannur. The UDF will make a comeback with full force,â he said. BJP leader M.T. Ramesh alleged that the LDFâs mandate was communal and said it was able to consolidate minority votes. âThey spread fear among the minorities about the BJP. This kind of propaganda is not good for democracy. The UDF inability in countering the LDF even in Mr Chennithalaâs panchayat is a clear sign of adjustment politics between the UDF and LDF,â he said.Tags: chengannur by-election, saji cherian, ldf Location: India, Kerala
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