Kottayam: The high strike rate of the Communist Party of India (CPI) too helped the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to garner nearly a 100 seats in the Kerala Legislative Assembly election. The party thus proved to be the perfect foil for the CPM which heads the ruling alliance as it secured the mandate for another five-year term.
The CPI candidates contested from 25 constituencies and, won 17, -- a high strike rate of 68 per cent. In the 2016 state election, the party had secured a total of 16,43,878 votes (8.12 per cent).
Here's a look into the constituencies from which the CPI won in the 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly election:
CPI's decision to replace incumbent legislator and Minister V S Sunil Kumar with P Balachandran as the candidate had raised a few eyebrows. Both BJP candidate Suresh Gopi and Congress' Padmaja Venugopal secured lead alternatively as the counting of votes progressed on Sunday. But Balachandran came ahead in the final rounds to defeat Padmaja by 946 votes. In 2016, Sunil Kumar had defeated Padmaja with a majority of 6,987 votes.
The CPI benefited from the decision to let the chief whip K Rajan enter the political fray again. Rajan defeated Jose Valloor of the UDF by 21,506 votes. Rajan's margin in the 2016 polls was 13,248 votes.
Since the formation of the Kodungallur constituency, the LDF and the UDF had secured one victory each until the 2016 election. The constituency saw a tough contest on April 6 as the BJP too offered a stiff resistance. But the sitting MLA V R Sunil Kumar defeated M P Jackson of the UDF by 23,893 votes. In 2016, Sunil Kumar had beaten K P Dhanapalan with a majority of 22,791 votes.
C C Mukundan was chosen as the candidate for the polls this time while denying a ticket to Geetha Gopi, who had secured victories in the last two elections in 2016 and 2011. But Mukundan proved the cynics wrong and emerged victorious with a rise in majority. Mukundan defeated Sunil Laloor of the Congress with a margin of 28,431 votes. In the 2016 polls, Geetha Gopi had defeated K V Das of the UDF by 26,777 votes.
Sobha Subin of the UDF gave a tight fight to incumbent CPI legislator E T Taison in the campaign stage. However, Taison had the last laugh, though Sobha managed to cut the former's victory margin to 22,698 votes. In 2016, Taison had won by 33,400 votes.
Incumbent Minister E Chandrasekharan won for the third time. He defeated P V Suresh of the UDF by 19,719 votes. A section of the party had objected to Chandrasekharan's candidature. He had won the 2016 election by 26,011 votes.
Nadapuram, the only seat in the Kozhikode district where the CPI contested in the latest state polls, witnessed a tough battle. Its sitting MLA E K Vijayan faced K Praveen Kumar, who was his opponent last time too. Vijayan won by a majority of 3,385 votes. During the Left wave in 2016, Vijayan had secured a majority of 4,759 votes.
The Pattambi assembly constituency had stood with the Congress from 2001. However, the Left wrested Pattambi from Congress by bringing in JNU student leader Muhammed Muhsin in 2016. This time too, Muhsin entered the poll fray as the CPI candidate and emerged victorious. He defeated Riyas Mukkoli of the UDF by 17,974 votes. In 2016, Muhsin's victory margin was 7,404 votes.
Amid a triangular contest, the CPI retained Chathannoor as its candidate G S Jayalal scored a hat-trick of victories. But his victory margin dropped to 17,206 votes. The Congress had entrusted senior leader N Peethambara Kurup with the task of reclaiming the constituency. But he finished third after BJP's B B Gopakumar. In 2016, Jayalal had won by a margin of 34,407 votes.
J Chinchu Rani of the CPI defeated Congress' candidate M M Naseer by 13,678 votes. In 2016, Mullakkara Retnakaran had won by a margin of 21,928 votes. Ever since the formation of the constituency in 1957, only twice have any non-CPI candidates won in Chadayamangalam.
The CPI retained the constituency as P S Supal defeated IUML candidate Abdurahiman Randathani by 37,057 votes. The CPI had won 13 of the 16 elections held from 1957 and K Raju had won the last three times. He had won with a majority of 33,582 votes in 2016.
In a keenly fought contest, CPI's P Prasad defeated Congress candidate S Sarath by 6,148 votes. The Cherthala constituency was formed in 2011, and the CPI had won in the last two elections. In 2016, P Thilothaman had won by a margin of 7196 votes.
Chittayam Gopakumar scored a hat-trick of wins by defeating Congress candidate M G Kannan by 2,919 votes. Beyond party support, personal ties and welfare measures helped him to secure the victory. Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had secured back-to-back victories at Adoor from 1991 to 2006. But in 2011, Chittayam Gopakumar defeated Pandalam Sudhakaran to claim Adoor. In 2016, he had won by a majority of 25,324 votes.
Vaikom saw a contest between the women candidates of the three political fronts. Sitting MLA and CPI candidate C K Asha defeated P R Sona of the Congress by 29,122 votes. Asha, who is a member of her party's Kottayam district council, secured a majority of 24,584 votes in 2016.
The CPI retained the Nedumangad constituency as its Thiruvananthapuram district secretary G R Anil defeated Congress candidate P S Prasanth by 23,171 votes. In 2016, CPI leader C Diwakaran had won from here by 3,621 votes.
V Shashi of the CPI secured a hat-trick of victories at the Left stronghold of Chirayinkeezhu. He defeated Congress candidate B S Anoop by 14,017 votes. In 2011, Shashi had defeated Congress candidate Vidhyadharan by 14,322 votes.
CPI candidate Vazhoor Soman defeated Cyriac Thomas of the Congress by 1,835 votes. The party candidate E S Bijimol had won from here the last three times, but this time Soman, the AITUC state vice-president, was chosen. Cyriac Thomas had lost to Bijimol in the last election for just 314 votes.