LDF wrests Pala Assembly seat in Kerala, creates history

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on September 27, 2019 Published on September 27, 2019

Pinarayi Vijayan,Chief Minister, Kerala   -  THE HINDU

The victory comes as a morale booster for the LDF

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala has made history of sorts on Friday by wresting the Pala Assembly seat from the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in a crucial byelection.

A pocket borough of late KM Mani, a many-time Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) stalwart, Pala has sent him to the State Assembly for 54 years on a trot.

The victory margin of 2,943 by namesake Mani C Kappan of the NCP, an LDF-constituent, may not convey the scale and magnitude of the victory but was enough to send shock waves among the UDF.

Kappan defeated Tom Jose of the Kerala Congress (M) in the bypoll occasioned by the demise of Mani, the sitting member and supreme leader of the party, earlier in April this year.

The victory comes as a morale booster for the LDF, which had bitten the dust in the recent Lok Sabha elections, with Rahul Gandhi leading the Congress-led UDF to a resounding sweep in 19 of the 20 seats in the state.

In this context, Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had invested a lot of political capital in Pala, the result of which is expected to give him a lot of confidence as the state heads soon into five other crucial bypolls.

Elections in 5 Assembly seats on October 21

Elections to the Vattiyoorkavu, Konni, Aroor, Ernakulam, Manjeswaram Assembly seats are to be held on October 21, four of which have been left vacant after sitting members were elected to the Lok Sabha.

The BJP is also hoping to win a second Assembly seat for itself with the party particularly focusing on Vattiyoorkavu (Thiruvananthapuram); Konni (Pathanamthitta); and Manjeswaram (Kasaragod).

It has a lone member in the Assembly in octogenarian O Rajagopal who made it in the 2016 Assembly polls. The party suffered a reverse in the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constitueny, of which Vattiyoorkavu is a part.

Star candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan lost the Lok Sabha seat here to Shashi Tharoor of the Congress by a margin of close to a lakh votes while his party colleagues failed to make the grade from elsewhere.

It managed to come up a close second in a number of Assembly segments riding largely over the sensitive Sabarimala issue, which is what makes it hopeful in at least the three Assembly seats mentioned above.

Published on September 27, 2019
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