Kerala: LDF Wins Pala By-Election
IN Pala an assembly constituency which always stood with right wing especially with late K M Mani founder leader of Kerala Congress, LDF registered an emphatic victory in a by-election held on September 23. LDF’s nominee, Mani C Kappan, won with 2,943 votes. The election was necessitated due to the death of K M Mani who was the representative of Pala for last 54 years. In 2016 Mani won with a margin of 4,703 votes. In this election, NCP leader and LDF candidate, Mani C Kappan bagged 54,137 votes while UDF candidate Jose Tom got 51,194. NDA candidate, G Hari gets 18,044 votes.
Maani C Kappan, a former state volleyball team member and an ace film producer won this time after three consecutive losses in previous elections. He managed to gain leads in 10 panchayats out of 13 in this constituency. In the Lok Sabha elections held in this year, Thomas Chazhikadan, UDF candidate in Kottayam got a huge margin of 33,472 votes in Pala assembly segment. UDF has suffered a set back as their vote decreased by more than 7,000 votes. Results shows that the votes of NDA reduced by more 6,000.
It is clear that the political situation during the Lok Sabha elections does not remain in Kerala. LDF has repeatedly campaigned that the political situation has changed. LDF has won two out of three assembly by-elections held in last three years. In 2018, LDF won Chengannur seat and UDF won in Vengara seat. Various corruption charges against the UDF leaders including Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and Ibrahim Kunju were the main campaign points of LDF during the Pala by-election. LDF also campaigned with the developmental initiatives of the government led by chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan. This election also exposed the rift among the constituents of the UDF. Kerala Congress(M) workers who keep a lenience towards P J Joseph openly protested against UDF candidate.
Soon after the elections, Binu a local BJP leader alleged that their votes have been purchased by UDF.