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The Kerala verdict: the winners, losers and an emerging third force

P Venugopal | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Riding a strong wave of resentment against the United Democratic Front (UDF) government, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) romped home in the Kerala Assembly elections, winning 91 of the 140 seats.

The Congress-led UDF won 47 seats, while the BJP made history by winning its first seat in the Assembly through senior party leader O Rajagopal's victory in Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district.

The LDF established a clear supremacy in 10 of the 14 districts in the State - Kannur, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Thrissur, Alappuzha, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Wayanad and Idukki. In Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kollam districts, it just lost one constituency each.

The UDF could hold its own only in the districts of Malappuram, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Kasargode.

Breaking down the numbers

For the LDF, the CPI(M) (and its independent candidates) won on 64 of the 92 seats contested, the CPI on 19 of the 27 seats contested, the Janata Dal (Secular) on three of the five seats contested, the Nationalist Congress Party on two of the four seats contested, the Revolutionary Communist Party (Leninist) on the only seat it contested, the Congress (S) on the one seat it contested and a faction of Communist Marxist Party on the one seat it contested.

For the UDF (with the number of seats each constituent party contested given in brackets), Congress won 22 seats (78), Indian Union Muslim League 18 seats (24), Kerala Congress Mani six seats (15) and Kerala Congress Jacob one seat (one).

For the NDA, the BJP had fielded candidates on 98 seats, winning one, while the BDJS had fielded candidates in 36 constituencies, without winning any.

At the time of going to press, a recount is indicated in the Wadakkancherry constituency in Thrissur district, where the Congress candidate got just three votes more than the CPI(M) candidate.

How the bigwigs fared

Chandy, Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan and CPI(M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan are among the leaders who registered wins with margins exceeding 25,000 votes each.

Excise Minister K Babu, who had got mired in bribery charges, is among four Ministers who bit the dust. The other Ministers who lost the elections are Shibu Baby John, KP Mohanan and PK Jayalakshmi.

KM Mani, the former finance minister, who had to resign from the Oommen Chandy government following bribery charges, won with a reduced margin from Palai constituency.

PC George, former Chief Whip in the Assembly, who had contested from his home constituency of Poonjar in Kottayam district challenging the LDF, UDF and the NDA, won as an independent candidate.

Tri-cornered contest in the future?

The BJP-led NDA, which fought these elections bringing under its umbrella the recently-formed Bharathiya Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), a party led by Ezhava community leader Vellappally Nateshan and a couple of other community organisations, came second in more than a dozen constituencies spread across the state, rattling both the UDF and the LDF by showing leads occasionally during the counting of votes.

The poll outcome suggests that it could turn the contests three-cornered in many constituencies, cutting into the vote share of both the UDF and the LDF.

O Rajagopal 's victory in Nemom over his CPI(M) rival and sitting MLA V Sivankutty was with a margin of nearly 9,000 votes. There had been a big erosion of UDF votes in this constituency.

Victory eluded the BJP in another constituency - Manjeswaram in Kasargode district - by a wafer-thin margin of 89 votes. Former BJP state president, V Muralidharan, who was the party's candidate here, has demanded a recount.

In Vattiyurkavu constituency, where the BJP had fielded its state president Kummanam Rajasekharan, it came second behind the Congress (and UDF) candidate K Muralidharan. This was one constituency where the party had expected to win.

Edited by Shreyas Sharma

First published: 19 May 2016, 7:38 IST