Kerala Local Body Polls Result: LDF surges ahead, makes inroad into UDF vote banks; NDA underwhelms despite gains

At per the latest trends, updated at 9.18 pm, the LDF was leading in 514 grama panchayats, 108 block panchayats, 10 district panchayats and three corporations, prompting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to attribute the good show to the people of the state

FP Staff December 16, 2020 21:53:13 IST
Kerala Local Body Polls Result: LDF surges ahead, makes inroad into UDF vote banks; NDA underwhelms despite gains

File Images of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. PTI

The ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala on Wednesday established a comfortable lead in more than 500 of the 941 gram panchayats, four of the six corporations, 10 of the 14 district panchayats and 112 of the 152 block panchayats.

As per the data from the election commission, the LDF has seen a strong lead in three tiers of local body polls of the state, as it won several key seats. Only in the case of municipalities has the LDF conceded an edge to the UDF.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) also scored some political points in different parts of the state, and was ahead on 22 seats, although its performance was not as good as expected by the saffron party.

At per the latest trends, updated at 9.18 pm, the LDF was leading in 514 grama panchayats, 108 block panchayats, 10 district panchayats and three corporations, prompting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to attribute the good show to the people of the state.

Claiming victory in the local body polls, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said it is the victory of the people and a fitting reply to the Central Government agencies which are trying to “wreck the state”.

As per The Indian Express, LDF’s major inroads into UDF vote-banks particularly in Thrissur, Ernakulam and Kottayam districts indicates popular support that goes beyond the CPI(M)’s strict cadre base.

The Congress, which had sensed an opening in the backdrop of corruption allegations against the Pinarayi Vijayan government and the sweeping win it had in the Lok Sabha polls last year, has lost a lot of ground and may find it harder to present a unified campaign in the 2021 Assembly polls.

As for the BJP, it has faced setbacks in contests to Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram corporations. At the same time, it has doubled the number of gram panchayats it holds and has added a municipality to its tally.

The Opposition Congress-led UDF is currently leading in 375 grama panchayats, 44 block panchayats, 45 municipalities, four district panchayats and three corporations.

The UDF, particularly the Indian Union Muslim League, put up an good performance in Malappuram by winning 26 of the 32 district panchayat divisions, nine of the 12 municipalities, 12 of the 15 block panchayats, and 74 of the 94 gram panchayats, according to The Hindu.

A battle of close margins was observed in Thrissur Corporation, where the LDF won by one seat, with a tally of 24 against the UDF’s 23. The NDA, on the other hand, won six seats.

The elections to 15,962 wards in 941 gram panchayats, 2,080 wards in 152 block panchayats, 331 divisions in 14 district panchayats, 3,078 wards in 86 municipalities and 414 wards in six municipal corporations were held in three phases on 8, 10, and 14 December. The overall voter turnout was 76 percent. only marginally lower than 77.76 percent in 2015.

Results firmly place CPI(M)-led LDF in driving seat

The ruling CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala to appeared to make a sweep of the local body polls in the state, while the BJP seemed to have made some gains, leading in Pandalam, the centre of protests against women's entry into Sabarimala, among others.

Opposition Congress-led UDF was in the second spot, leading in over 400 local bodies. The Left front is also ahead in 108 block panchayats, Vijayan told reporters on Wednesday.

He also took to Twitter to thank the people for reposing faith in the ruling front. "Thank you, Kerala. Thank you for reposing faith in LDF. We are humbled by the trust and confidence of the people of Kerala. This is a victory for secularism and inclusive development," he said.

It was "people's victory," he said, adding LDF's performance is a resounding reply to those who tried to belittle the state's achievements.

BJP on way to better its 2015 show

As per latest trends, the BJP is ahead in 23 grama panchayats and two municipalities, including Pandalam, which was the centre of protests against the entry of women in the age group of 10-50 years age into the Sabarimala Ayyappa shrine.

The saffron party was ahead in Palakkad municipality also.

Though the BJP could not put up a spectacular show, it still seemed to better its 2015 record, where it won 14 grama panchayats and the lone Palakkad municipality. And if the trends hold, could nearly double its seats this time.

The BJP had earlier organised state-wide protests against the entry of young women in the menstruating age into the shrine.

Meanwhile, UDF leaders, including Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former chief minister Oommen Chandy, said that the claims that the Congress-led front had been routed were baseless. The front has not lost ground in any of its traditional bastions.

The UDF's political affairs committee will be meeting on Thursday to take stock of the results, Ramachandran said, adding that the CPI(M) and the LDF need not rejoice. "They had not sought votes on the development agenda," he claimed.

Chennithala said BJP has managed to do well only in some pockets and had failed to make any inroads and was a "total failure".

"We have faired well in the elections. Over 375 panchayats are with us. The BJP has proved to be a total failure in the state. Even after using all the influence of Central agencies, the BJP failed. Yes, we had certain issues which we will address," he said.

The fight against the 'anti-people' policies of the Central and state governments will be continued, Chennithala added.

"When compared with the 2015 local body polls, the UDF did better this time. It's true that the anti-government sentiments were not seen this time. We will address the failure in each panchayat and move forward after correcting the mistakes," he said.

"Other than in Pandalam and Palakkad, BJP has not made any impact in Kerala. We will look into the reasons behind loss of seats in Thiruvnanthapuram," Chennithala said.

LDF wins closely-contested key seat in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation

The LDF registered a thumping victory in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, winning 51 wards out of a total of 100 wards, reported The Hindu.

The BJP won 34 wards, close to their tally in 2015, when they had advanced from six wards to winning 35 wards.

The UDF was pushed to third place again, with just nine wards. Five independents also won from the municipal corporation.

BJP state president K Surendran alleged the UDF and LDF worked together to defeat his party in Thiruvananthapuram. "The UDF vote share has gone down drastically. Many communal organisations have also helped the LDF," he alleged.

The good show by CPI(M) in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation is the result of an "unholy nexus" between the Left and the Congress, he said, adding the latter had failed in fighting the Left party. They need to introspect, he added.

A Vijayaraghavan, LDF convener, who also holds the charge of CPI(M) state secretary, said the poll outcome showed that people have rejected the "false campaign" against the party and the Chief Minister.

"Some tried to create controversies out of various allegations. The central probe agencies tried to derail the day-to-day governance of the state. Kerala has never seen any such poisonous campaigning ever. But people rejected all those and stood by the Left government," he said.

"The government was going through a very tough time due to various natural calamities, lack of funds from the Centre and the COVID-19 pandemic. But the people saw that the government never let any such adversities affect the people," he added.

Eyes on Congress’ performance

As the results kept pouring in, the Indian Union Muslim League called upon the United Democratic Front, particularly the Congress, to introspect its performance.

PK Kunhalikutty, leader of IUML, a constituent of the UDF, said the party had retained its strongholds. The UDF and the Congress have to introspect the election result, he said.

“We have protected our strongholds in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod districts,” IUML national chairperson Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

“We have made huge gains in Malappuram....The UDF should review and introspect. Congress should introspect.”

Congress mayoral candidate N Venugopal, meanwhile, alleged that voting machines were tampered, after he lost to a BJP candidate by one vote in the Kochi Corporation North Island ward, reported ANI.

“It was a sure seat,” he told reporters. “I can’t say what happened. There was no problem with the party. There was a problem with the voting machine. That may be the reason for BJP’s victory.”

With inputs from PTI

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