The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has registered a thumping victory in the recently concluded local body elections in Kerala. The LB polls, considered as the semi-finals ahead of the Assembly elections next year, witnessed a close contest between the LDF and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
The ruling LDF has an upper hand in 515 gram panchayats of the total 941 as per the latest updates of the state election commission at 5 PM. The UDF is leading in 376 gram panchayats making it a tight fight. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is leading in only 22 gram panchayats across the state.
Similarly, LDF has a clear edge in Block Panchayats, District Panchayats and Corporations, while, UDF has gained in municipalities across the state. A total of 21,893 wards in 1,200 local self-governing bodies, including six corporations, 941 village panchayats, 14 district panchayats and 87 municipalities went to the polls in three phases on December 8, 10 and 14.
A comparison of the election results of 2020 and 2015 shows that the LDF has succeeded in maintaining their upper hand. Kerala has a history of electing UDF and LDF in every alternate elections, whether it is local body elections or Assembly elections. With the LDF being the ruling party, UDF had been expecting a clear edge with anti-incumbency factor in the 2020 elections. However, for the first time in past 20 years, an incumbent front has bagged a massive win in the local body elections in state.
Comparison of Local Body Election Results 2020 and 2015, Source: State Election commission
The ward-wise breakdown of results shows that LDF has won 7,258 gram panchayat wards of total 15,962. UDF secured 5,848 wards, NDA won 1,175 wards and others got 1,603.
Ward/division wise results
The election campaigns of the NDA and UDF this time focused on the Thiruvananthapuram Gold Smuggling case. The LDF, however, had highlighted their developmental activities in the state. The UDF and NDA even attempted to derail several developmental projects of the state government including the much ambitious housing project Life Mission, which aims to provide secure housing for all.
Following the Thiruvananthapuram Gold Smuggling case, the central investigative agencies have been trying to harass the state government. Both UDF and BJP-led NDA have taken this as a golden opportunity to hit the Pinarayi Vijayan led state government. The election results, however, show that the BJP could not make further inroads in the state.
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In the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, where a close triangular fight had emerged between LDF, UDF and NDA before the polling, the Left Front has registered a clear win. Of the 100 divisions in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, LDF has secured 51 seats, NDA got 34 divisions, UDF secured 10 and others have 5 seats. In 2015, LDF had won 42 wards in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. The BJP alliance back then had 34 seats as well.
The 2020 LB polls has also seen LDF bagging many strong holds of UDF. The Pala Municipality, which supported UDF since its formation, has been secured by the Left Front winning 17 of the 26 wards. The UDF managed to win eight seats and one seat has gone to independent candidate. Pala is known as the bastion of Kerala Congress (Mani). However, ahead of the elections, the Jose K Mani fraction of Kerala Congress (Mani) had allied with LDF following a political controversy.
Meanwhile, the bastion of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President Mullappally Ramachandran has also turned red. His block panchayat division Kallamala in Kozhikode district has been bagged by CPI(M)’s Advocate Ashish. The Pulpally Panchayat in Kottayam, which is known as the bastion of Oommen Chandy, Congress leader and former chief minister, has also supported the LDF candidate this time.