The leadership of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the Malabar region can now breathe easier. For the Congress-led coalition managed to dodge the setback it faced in the in local body elections in the southern and central parts of the State.
The UDF may not have been able to make any major dent in the LDF’s traditional domination in the region. But it remained largely intact here. In fact, it moderately improved its tally, if its victory in the Kannur Corporation and its capture of some panchayats in Kozhikode and Malappuram, among others, are anything to go by.
The UDF’s better performance in Malappuram is attributed to the unity of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the Congress in the district, unlike in the 2015 election when both parties had engaged in friendly contests. The UDF’s loss of Nilambur to the LDF is compensated by its recapture of Tirur from the LDF. Notably, the UDF won nearly 75 grama panchayats this time in Malappuram which is a stronghold of the IUML as against nearly 60 panchayats it secured in 2015.
The UDF made some headway in the Kozhikode district by winning more municipalities. In 2015, the LDF won six out of the seven municipalities in the district. This time, the LDF could secure only two municipalities – Koyilandy and Vadakara. The UDF won four and in the remaining one – Mukkom – improved its tally with its tie-up with the Welfare Party of India (WPI). The UDF’s capture of Thiruvallur, Kodiyathur, and Karassery panchayats in the district also gave it much comfort. Much to the UDF’s discomfiture, its tally in the Kozhikode Corporation decreased, despite its claim that it would make big gains in the civic body controlled by the LDF over 45 years.
The UDF’s winning of 34 seats out of 55 seats in the Kannur Corporation is also a morale booster for the front’s district leadership. So is its capture of two of the 11 block panchayats there: Iritty and Irikkur. In 2015, the LDF had won all the 11 block panchayats. In Kasaragod, there is no big change in the 2015 tally. Kasaragod municipality is retained by the UDF, while Neeleswaram and Kanhangad municipalities continue to be held by the LDF. The LDF and UDF nearly maintained its tally in the district panchayat.