Kerala election result: Ruling LDF sweeps majority in local body polls

Kerala election result: Ruling LDF sweeps majority  in local body polls

The ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala appeared set for a sweep in the local body polls in the state on Wednesday, often considered a semi-final before the assembly elections due in April-May next year.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) was in the second spot, leading in over 400 local bodies, as the votes polled in the three-phase elections that concluded on December 14 were taken up for counting on Wednesday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remained a distant third, though it seemed to have made some gains, leading in Pandalam, the center of protests against women’s entry into Sabarimala, among others.

LDF: The Left Democratic Front is leading in 514 of the 941 grama panchayats, five of the six city corporations, and 11 of the 14 district panchayats, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, describing the strong performance as people’s victory. The Left front was also ahead in 108 block panchayats, Vijayan told media.

UDF: The Congress-led United Democratic Front was eying a repeat of Lok Sabha outcome - it had won 19 out of 20 seats last year. But out of the six corporations, it emerged victorious only in Kannur (north Kerala) and Kochi. The UDF, leading in 375 grama panchayats, 44 block panchayats, 45 municipalities, and three district panchayats, however, asserted it has not lost ground in any of its traditional bastions and claims of a rout were ‘baseless’.

Congress leaders said they will examine reasons for the debacle and will do enough introspection. “Political climate was conducive for the party. We will examine reasons and take corrective measures,” said party leader T N Prathapan, who is a member of Parliament from Thrissur.

BJP: The state president of the party, K Surendran, alleged that the UDF and LDF worked together to contain the BJP’s surge. “Last week, LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan said the CPI(M) had taken enough measures to stop BJP on its tracks. In many wards, Congress workers gave their vote en bloc to the CPI(M) to sabotage BJP’s chances in Thiruvananthapuram,” he said, adding that the ruling dispensation also distributed secret leaflets in many places for minority consolidation against the BJP.