Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) wrested sitting seats of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kannur and Pathanamthitta districts, while the latter managed to retain most of its other seats as the results of bye-elections held to 19 local self-governing bodies were declared on Wednesday.
As all the 19 results came in, the LDF and UDF won nine seats each and the BJP has only one seat in its kitty.
Congress’ Jessy Varghese scored an upset win, with a majority of 76 votes, in Ward 5 of Mylapra Gram Panchayat of Pathanamthitta. The poll was held following the demise of the panchayat president, CPM’s Chandrika Sunil. With the win, the UDF and the LDF have six and five seats in the panchayat. BJP and an Independent, who had contested as a UDF rebel, hold two other seats.
The UDF also won in another sitting seat of CPM when its candidate emerged victorious in the Kakkoni ward of Pilathara-Cheruthazham panchayat in Kannur.
Elsewhere, Kerala Janapaksham suffered another loss in the Poonjar Gram Panchayat in Kottayam district. Its candidate lost to CPM’s Bindu Asokan by 12 votes in the bye-election held in Perunnillam ward. The LDF retained the Mukkada ward of Manimala Gram Panchayat, also in Kottayam district.
The UDF retained the Kanara ward of Pazhayakunnumel grama panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram.
T Manikandan, an LDF-backed Independent candidate, won in Peroor in Lakkidi Gram Panchayat in Palakkad district. Another LDF-backed Independent A Aji won in Ward 11 of the Cherthala Municipality by a majority of 310 votes, defeating BJP’s Prem Kumar Karthikeyan (278).
A total of 24,504 voters, including 11,457 males and 13,047 females, exercised their franchisee rights in the bye-elections held to 19 local governing bodies of the state, registering a voting percentage of 76.51, State Election Commissioner A Shajahan informed.
The polls were held in wards in two corporations, two municipalities, and 15 gram panchayats across nine districts. A total of 60 candidates contested the elections.