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Left sweeps local body polls in Kerala | India News


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After months of campaign by the United Democratic Front (UDF) and BJP almost destroyed the goodwill that the Pinarayi Vijayan government’s Covid-19 response had generated, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala registered a resounding win in the three-phase local body polls whose results were announced on Wednesday.
The LDF won the majority of district panchayats, block panchayats, gram panchayats and municipal corporations. The only consolation for the UDF was the slight upper hand it gained in municipalities. Though the BJP improved its tally from 2015, the party could not reach anywhere close to its ambitious plans.
The LDF won in 10 district panchayats against seven in 2015. Four out of the six corporations are also set to welcome LDF councils. The lion’s share of block panchayats, 108 out of 152, was also grabbed by LDF. It also won 514 of the 941 gram panchayats. UDF which won 375 gram panchayats is set to form the ruling council in 45 of 86 municipalities. LDF won 35 municipalities while NDA won two. The NDA also netted 23 gram panchayats apart from retaining its position as the main opposition in the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation.
Political observers see the victory as a personal vindication for chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan who had to face serious allegations related to the gold smuggling scam and the Life Mission housing scam, which the UDF and the BJP had levelled.
The CM’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar and additional private secretary C M Raveendran are allegedly involved in these cases, but the CPM leadership was confident that initiatives launched by the government in the last four-and-a-half years that combined development and welfare would be all that mattered to voters. The results seem to have proved them right.
“This is a victory of the people. The victory of all who have pledged to stay united. This result is a reply to those who are trying to demolish Kerala and its achievements,” said Pinarayi. “The UDF has become insignificant while the BJP’s tall claims have fallen flat,” he told reporters after the results were announced.
Among the factors that fuelled the LDF surge is the consolidation of minority votes across the state. The gamble of allying with the Kerala Congress (M) faction led by Jose K Mani also strengthened the bond between the LDF and the minorities. The wins scored by the LDF in Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts are partly due to the entry of the Jose K Mani faction.
The decision to introduce economic reservation in jobs and educational institutions is believed to have stalled the shift of upper caste Hindu voters to the BJP camp. The establishment of Sree Narayana Open University and the installation of a Sree Narayana statue in the capital city were sops for the Ezhava community, the traditional vote bank of CPM and CPI.
The CM referred to anti-incumbency and observed that it was not easy or common for a ruling front to register such a win after years in office. Many local body institutions had to face double anti-incumbency — against the ruling council and the government — but they ended up winning. “Our government has already implemented 570 out of 600 promises made in our manifesto. Several other projects were also launched. All these actions are valued by the people,” said Pinarayi. He also recalled crises like the 2018 floods, Nipah and Covid-19 and how the state fought them in a united fashion.
With assembly elections on the threshold, the LDF is viewing the results as a message to carry out the good work and ensure continuance in office, while the result has come as a shocker to the UDF.

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