The Left Democratic Front (LDF) cemented its presence in local bodies in the capital district as it improved on its performance in 2015.
The simple majority it achieved in the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram city Corporation, where it won 51 seats in the 100-ward council, could be the icing in the cake in the victory of the Communist Party of India(Marxist)-led coalition. Despite mounting a high-pitched campaign, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) could manage to win only 34 seats, one short of what it had won last time. The United Democratic Front (UDF)’s pursuit to wrest control of the civic body ended with a whimper as it recorded its worst-ever performance winning just 10 seats. The coalitions’ strength could slightly change with the five Independents choosing their sides.
Slightly taking the sheen off its spectacular performance in the Corporation, the LDF witnessed the defeats of outgoing Mayor K. Sreekumar who contested in the Karikkakom ward and Mayor-hopefuls S. Pushpalatha and A.G. Oleena in Nedumcaud and Kunnukuzhy respectively. The BJP managed to save its face by ensuring the victory of its district president V.V. Rajesh in Poojappura.
In district panchayat
The LDF also improved its position in the district panchayat by winning 20 out of the 26 divisions. They had emerged victorious in 19 divisions during the previous polls. The UDF could only win the remaining six. The NDA, which hoped to improve on its tally of one seat, could not even manage to retain the Venganoor division where they fielded former BJP district president S. Suresh who was defeated by LJD candidate Bhagath Rufus, son of former district panchayat vice-president Rufus Daniel, by 2,064 votes.
10 block panchayats
The results of the polls in block panchayats too brought cheer for the LDF camp as it won 10 of them, while the front was tied with the UDF in Vellanad block panchayat with eight seats each. The front could only win eight block panchayats last time.
The elections results in the 73 grama panchayats almost replicated the previous ones as the LDF won in 51 of them, the UDF in 18 and the NDA four. The coalitions had respectively won 50, 19 and four grama panchayats in 2015.
2 of 4 municipalities
The poll outcome of the four municipalities could, however, become a reason to ponder for the LDF which had swept them all last time. On Wednesday, they achieved simple majorities in Nedumangad and Attingal municipalities, but stared at the prospects of hung councils in Varkala and Neyyattinkara.
The NDA’s resurgence caught the other coalitions by surprise in Varkala as the alliance won 11 seats, only one less than what the LDF could win. The bitter stand-off between the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) resulted in the UDF winning only seven seats. Theirs and the political stance of three Independents could prove decisive in the council.
In the Neyyattinkara municipality, the LDF and the UDF won 18 and 17 seats respectively, while the NDA bagged nine.