NDA’s Rajesh gets 39,596 votes, UDF’s Veena Nair is third
CPI(M)’s V.K. Prasanth romped to victory in the Vattiyurkavu Assembly constituency on Sunday with a handsome margin of 21,515 votes.
The LDF candidate garnered 61,111 votes while managing to retain the seat that had remained a UDF bastion for over a decade since the delimitation of 2008. He bettered his performance during the 2019 byelection when he had won by a margin of 14,465 votes to defeat Congress’ K. Mohankumar. Mr. Prasanth also managed to marginally increase his vote share from 44.25% to 44.4% in the process.
NDA candidate V.V. Rajesh managed to win 39,596 votes, while UDF candidate Veena S. Nair was consigned to the third position with 35,455 votes.
Mr. Prasanth saw his victory as public acceptance of the efforts undertaken in the constituency during the last one-and-a-half years. He added that the electorate had rejected the diversionary tactics of both the UDF and the NDA, which have been involved in a tacit deal.
A third-place finish for the UDF is bound to be damaging for the Congress, which has struggled to fend off allegations of vote-trading levelled by the LDF. The coalition, which has been witnessing a steady erosion of its vote base of late, saw its vote share falling to 25.76% from 32.58% in 2019 and 37.81% in 2016.
Ms. Nair had found the going tough at times during her campaign. After managing to emerge from teething troubles, the discovery of unused posters from a scrap shop and later in a plantation had triggered discontentment within the party’s ranks. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Mullappally Ramachandran, who himself voiced the possibility of efforts to undermine the party’s chances from within, subsequently ordered an enquiry.
Despite its loss, the NDA came close to replicating its best performance in 2016 when it had won 43,700 with a vote share 32.19%, higher than 28.77% this time. However, the BJP will have much soul-searching to do, considering that the party pulled out all stops in its campaign by roping in a horde of star campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Besides, it could not capitalise on the Sabarimala women entry issue, which was the party’s key poll plank across the State.
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