Manorama News-VMR Kerala Exit Poll: CPM's young MLA retains Konni he won in the 2019 byelection

Konni candidates K U Jenish Kumar (CPM, and also the sitting MLA), Robin Peter (Congress),  and K Surendran (BJP).
Konni candidates K U Jenish Kumar (CPM, and also the sitting MLA), Robin Peter (Congress), and K Surendran (BJP).

In one of the most keenly watched contests, a triangular one, CPM's sitting MLA K U Janeesh Kumar will emerge victorious in Konni, according to the Manorama News-VMR Kerala Exit Poll results announced on Friday.

The sitting MLA, who had to battle some inner party bitterness, will come tops with 35.6 percent votes, the exit poll results showed. Congress's Robin Peter, widely seen as former Konni MLA Adoor Prakash Man Friday, could secure only a second position with 30.2%. BJP state president K Surendran, who chose Konni as his second constituency after Manjeshwaram, will stand third with 30.2 percent votes. BJP had hoped to milk the Sabarimala emotion for what it was worth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reached Pathanamthitta on April 2, had also sought to rouse passions in the name of Lord Ayyappa.

Even in 2019, when the emotional pull of the Sabarimala issue was at its peak, Surendran could not amass enough votes (though he polled 29 percent of the total votes, a huge jump from the 12 percent the BJP candidate won in 2016) to beat his two main contenders.

The constituency is generally Left leaning though Adoor Prakash had managed to win consistently. After the 2020 local body polls, nine of the panchayats that make up Konni are ruled by the LDF. The UDF is in the saddle in only two of them.

Nonetheless, Robin Peter could not be brushed aside as Adoor Prakash's “benami”. He has been fighting local body polls in Konni for the last 25 years. A habitual winner, he had been grama and block panchayat presidents. In the 2020 local body polls, Robin had the highest majority in the Pathanamthitta district panchayat polls.

However, Janeesh's youthful vigour and claims of development within a short period might have worked considerably in his favour.

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