Congress veteran K Babu edged out M Swaraj by 992 votes to wrest Thripunithura from CPM in an a thrilling contest.
The Thripunithura contest assumed significance as Babu and Swaraj came face to face for the second consecutive time. The young CPM leader had staged an upset and wrested the seat from Babu in 2016.
Babu, who had been representing the constituency for 25 years, lost the 2016 polls in the wake of the bar bribery allegations against him. Swaraj defeated Babu by a margin of 4,467 votes.
Swaraj sought re-election this time with the tall claims of development initiated by him in the constituency and the LDF government's performance.
The UDF rubbished these claims and raised the controversy over the Sabarimala verdict as a major poll issue. It also tried to corner Swaraj over a controversial speech he had made during the Sabarimala agitations.
Babu, a loyalist of Oommen Chandy, was picked as the UDF candidate following stiff resistance from a section of the Congress leaders in Ernakulam district. Political observers had predicted that Babu's personal contacts all over the constituency, which he nourished over years, could help him wrest the seat this time.
Babu had defeated CPM's Dinesh Mani by 15,788 votes in 2011. His winning margin was 7,342 votes in 2006 when he won against K N Raveendranath. In 2001, he won against CPM's trade union leader K Chandran Pillai by 24,296 votes.