Dismissing all proclamations of stains and setbacks LDF swept through Chengannur bypolls with formidable lead of 20,956 votes with its candidate Saji Cherian grabbing 67,303 votes in the constituency.
Congress candidate D Vijaykumar trailed second with a total of 46,347 votes that translates into 2,000 votes more than assembly elections held in 2016.
BJP was left in the lurch just 35,270 votes, a minus of 7,000 votes than last time.
In 2016 assembly elections CPM candidate KK Ramachandran Nair won with lead of 2,000 votes. Following his death in January the seat fell vacant.
KM Mani’s last minute switch to UDF camp did not hamper LDF’s race to the big win as speculated by election gurus.
There were a total of 181 booths in this bypoll.
UDF Forts Destroyed
Prestigious Chengannur Municipality, the traditional congress fortress was pulled down with people endorsing LDF candidate Saji Cherian with massive majority there.
LDF also overshadowed Congress in Mannar, Pandanad and Thiruvan Vandoor panchayats.
Leaders Lose Home Ground
Mannar panchayat where Congress veteran and former CM Oommen Chandy has his ancestral home voted Cherian with huge margin.
In a similar embarrassment, Cherian beat down the opposition leader in his home panchayath of Chennithala.
UDF candidate Vijay Kumar who hails from Puliyur too suffered similar defeat.
Venmani and Ala where Congress was supposed to win was overwhelmed by Cherian as well.
Post Result Voices
Amid victory celebrations that in the early rounds of counting, LDF’s Saji Cheriyan said the victory is an endorsement of LDF governance and people’s gesture that they trust only LDF for safety of their lives and wellfare.
Congress leader and former AICC secretary Shanimol Usman alleged that victory reflects an efficient “election engineering” rather than people-oriented governance. She further claimed communal theme was centric to LDF propaganda.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the defeat has been unprecedented and party will evaluate the outcome adding communal polarization was a big factor in LDF win.
BJP candidate and its state president Sreedharan Pillai said the massive victory was fostered by Congress weakness at several places resulting in their vote drain to LDF.
In his address to media post results, Chief Minister Pinarayi said the victory reflected people’s trust in governance.
CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Congress’s ‘soft secularism” stand with BJP had backfired, adding, the win endorsed pro-people policies of LDF government.