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Sunday’s result reflects the continuing trend of parties outside the usual UDF-LDF bipolar contest in Kerala giving a major jolt to the final verdict in elections. File photo: HT
Sunday’s result reflects the continuing trend of parties outside the usual UDF-LDF bipolar contest in Kerala giving a major jolt to the final verdict in elections. File photo: HT

Vengara bypoll results: UDF ally IUML wins

IUML candidate K.N.A. Khader won Vengara assembly byelection with 65,227 votes, 23,310 votes more than the CPM candidate P.P. Basheer

Bengaluru: The opposition alliance in Kerala, United Democratic Front or UDF, was in for an unanticipated outcome on Sunday as the results were announced in Vengara assembly constituency byelection, their second test of strength after Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) came to power last May.

As widely expected, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), ally of UDF, won the seat which is considered to be one of their home turfs, but worryingly for the party, its margin of victory took a considerable hit from the previous election.

IUML candidate K.N.A. Khader won with 65,227 votes on Sunday, 23,310 votes more than the CPM candidate P.P. Basheer. In 2016, former industries minister and League candidate P.K. Kunhalikutty, whose move to Lok Sabha resulted in the election, had won the seat with 72,181 votes, winning with a margin of 38,057 votes.

On the other hand, Basheer, the runner up in the 2016 election too, increased his votes from 34,124 to 41,917. While Khader is a senior IUML leader and the party’s secretary in-charge of Malappuram district, Basheer is only a low-profile member of the CPM’s local area committee.

Sunday’s result also reflects the continuing trend of parties outside the usual UDF-LDF bipolar contest in Kerala giving a major jolt to the final verdict in elections. Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political outfit of Popular Front of India, came in third place in Vengara with 8,648 votes. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came in fourth place with 5,748 votes, although they had expected a better result with its high profile campaign.

“The UDF won despite in opposition against parties that rule the state and the center. Kunhalikutty’s winning margin was a result of his personal hold over the constituency, Khader may have failed to get those many votes. The CPM candidate seems to have got the BJP votes in the constituency, that shows the collusion between these two parties," said Congress strongman and UDF opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

“The larger political message from Vengara is very clear. The organizational structure of Congress and its allies have collapsed. The future of UDF looks bleak," said CPM Kerala secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

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