By-polls: UDF gets three, LDF wrests two, BJP blanks out

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The people of the state witnessed a tight race in the by-polls held in the five assembly constituencies of the state. The main three parties presented a strong electioneering in Manjeswaram, Ernakulam, Konni, Aroor and Vattiyoorkavu. The unexpected rains on the voting day soaked the by-polls keeping apart the predictions and expectations. A sharp fall was witnessed in the poll percentage. The drop in the poll percentage also raised concerns in the fronts. When the results were finally announced, the UDF got three seats, LDF wrests two and the NDA as expected was blanked out. Community leaders’ right distance and support did not yield any results. The flaw in the selection of BJP candidate in Vattiyoorkkavu was a setback for them.

By-polls were held in Manjeswaram assembly constituency following the demise of P B Abdul Razak MLA. Manjeswaram was in news when BJP candidate K Surendran approached the court against Razaq’s win in 2016. He alleged that Razaq got the votes of those abroad and 291 people did bogus voting. He told the court that he should be declared as the winner. Before a decision came in the case, Razaq died.When by-polls was announced, M C Kamarudheen of Muslim League was announced UDF candidate, Shankar Rai as LDF candidate and Raveesha Tantri Kundra as BJP candidate. When results came, Kamarudheen won by 65407 votes, Tantri got 57484 votes and Rai 38233 votes. Kamarudheen got a lead of 7923 votes.

The UDF was able to retain the Ernakulam seat in the unfavorable political climate. T J Vinod of the UDF won by a majority of 3750 votes. In the last polls, Hibi Eden won from the constituency by 21,949 votes. Soon after the win, Vinod said that he is dedicating his win to the people and the UDF activists of Ernakulam. LDF candidate Manu Roy said that though he expected the votes of youngsters, waterlogging was one of the reasons for the decrease in his votes. C G Rajagopal was the BJP candidate here. Konni was one of the most significant constituencies in the by polls. The BJP who raised the Sabarimala issue fielded K Surendran with full confidence. But after a wait of 23 years, the CPM wrested the seat from the congress. K U Janeesh Kumar of the LDF won the polls getting 54099 votes. The constituency which was with Adoor Prakash from 1996 to 2019 later turned to the Left. UDF candidate Mohanraj got 44146 votes and NDA candidate K Surendran 39786 votes.

The by-polls were held in Aroor after A M Arif MLA was elected to the Lok Sabha. Shanimol Usman won from the constituency after a wait of 59 years. She defeated LDF candidate Manu C Pulikkal by 1992 votes. The victory in the constituency dominated by the Left Front was not a small challenge for Shanimol. Aroor recorded the highest turnout of polling among the five assembly seats. Poll percentage was 80.47. Though Shanimol lost the seat in the Lok Sabha polls, she was named candidate for the Aroor seat after she got a majority of 648 votes from Aroor constituency.Vattiyoorkavu was one of the largest constituencies among the five places. The LDF fielded Thiruvananthapuram corporation mayor V K Prashanth as their candidate. The LDF chose him as the candidate considering his activities during floods time and due to his ‘mayor bro’ image. It turned right and Prashanth was able to win by a thumping majority.

Things changed in Vattiyoorkavu after BJP district president S Suresh was named candidate. Suresh was not accepted by the RSS who actually wanted Kummanam here. It was witnessed in the electioneering also. From the beginning it was heard that Vattiyoorkavu will be influenced by community votes rather than political votes. Following that, K Mohan Kumar of the UDF was fielded here with the blessings of NSS. As the Nairs of Vattiyoorkavu were not able to accept the call of ‘right distance’ in Perunna, the win of Prashanth was easy. By-polls were held here after K Muraleedharan was elected to the Lok Sabha.