Thrikkakara bypoll in Kerala: Congress’ Uma Thomas wins by thumping majority, no ‘century’ for LDF
UDF and Congress candidate Uma Thomas has won by a thumping margin of 25,016 votes in Thrikkakara bypoll in Kerala as the counting progressed to the final lap
UDF and Congress candidate Uma Thomas has won by a thumping margin of 25,016 votes in Thrikkakara bypoll in Kerala as the counting progressed to the final lap. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of her husband and two-time sitting MLA PT Thomas in December 2021. Her margin is higher than that of her husband who had secured a lead of 14,329 votes in 2021 assembly elections.
The counting of votes for the Thrikkakara assembly bypoll began at 8 am on Friday at Maharaja's College, Ernakulam, and the voting was held on May 31, 2022. She took the lead from the beginning as soon as the postal ballots were counted, where of the 10 postal votes counted, Uma got six and CPI-M candidate cardiologist Joe Joseph secured four. BJP had fielded party veteran AN Radhakrishnan.
On voting day, though many expected the polling percentage to be higher, it turned out to be the lowest ever with 68.77% as against the 71.12% in 2022. Ernakulam District Collector Jafar Malik had stated that a total of 1,35,320 votes were polled out of the 1.96 lakh voters in the constituency. Thrikkakara witnessed a turnout of 68,167 female voters and 67,152 male voters. The lone transgender voter too exercised the voting rights. Polling was held in 239 booths in the urban constituency.
This win for UDF has dashed the ruling LDF front's hope of securing the 100th seat in the Kerala Assembly. What makes the win a double tragedy for LDF is that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan led the campaign in Thrikkakara. With Congress retaining Thrikkakara, UDF retained its strength of 48 in the 147-member Kerala assembly. LDF, which has 99 seats in the state assembly, was aiming to make its tally 100 after the win in Thrikkakara.
Ahead of the elections, Vijayan had stated that the Thrikkakara byelection was an opportunity to correct the mistake made in 2021 and he had camped in the district for most of the days ahead of the polling on May 31. The party had also lined up all the bigwigs including party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and all the MLAs to campaign for Joe Joseph.
Ernakulam DCC Mohammed Shiyas said that UDF lead in Thrikkakara was a fitting reply to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and a major setback for the CM. However, CPI-M’s Ernakulam district secretary CN Mohanan said CM Vijayan did not lead the poll campaign. “The verdict is not a reflection of the government's performance. The result is really unexpected, unbelievable, especially the huge lead. The party would examine the poll outcome,” he said. Out of the total 239 booths, LDF gained lead in only 12.
This loss is likely to be seen as a setback for the CPI(M)-led state government as it is currently in its second consecutive tenure in the state.
The Thrikkakara by-poll result is a boost for KPCC president K Sudhakaran, and opposition leader VD Satheesan. They had taken charge after replacing Mullapally Ramachandran and Ramesh Chennithala respectively following the major loss in the 2021 assembly elections.
"People have given their verdict on the LDF government's performance. It's CPM and its leaders who said the election will be a performance analysis of their government. By that count, we have to say that the performance of the LDF government is really bad," said Muslim League leader PK Kunhalikutty, MLA.
Thrikkakara, which was formed in 2011, has so far elected only Congress MLAs. The constituency had elected Congress leader Benny Behanan as its first MLA. He is the Chalakudy MP currently. In the 2016 election, PT Thomas won from the constituency where he secured 61,268 votes, which was 45.42 per cent of the electorate. BJP’s S Saji had gotten 21,247 votes.
In 2021, Thomas won with a slightly reduced margin of 59,839 while CPI-M backed Dr J Jacob got 45,510 votes and BJP’s Saji garnered 15,483 votes, which was only 11.34% of the vote share, a drop of 4.36% from 2016.