Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Health Minister Shailaja secure landslide victories while E. Sreedharan and Suresh Gopi fade away despite showing promise.
The ruling Left Democratic Front, with a lead in 99 of 140 seats, has emerged as a decisive winner of 2021 Assembly elections. Congress-led United Democratic Front, which harboured ambitions of forming the government this round, was sidelined to a mere 41 seats, while BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has lost the one seat they had won in 2016 election.
Here are some of the key winners and losers in the Kerala elections.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan waltzed his way into victory in Dharmadom with almost double the number of votes as his closest competitor, Congress’ C. Raghunathan. Mr. Vijayan is likely to continue as the CM for a second term, having successfully led the party to a historic re-election.
The UDF-backed RMPI candidate K.K. Rema’s victory in Vadakara constituency is one of the highlights of 2021 Assembly elections. Ms. Rema is the widow of slain Revolutionary Marxist Party of India leader T.P. Chandrashekharan. Her candidacy has often been portrayed as an act of vengeance against CPI(M) workers who murdered her husband, a CPI(M) dissident.
Health Minister K.K. Shailaja, who won both accolades and brickbats for her handling of many health emergencies like the Nipah Virus and COVID-19 pandemic, won from Mattannur by a margin of over 60,963 votes.
Mani C. Kappan
Mani C. Kappan
Mani C. Kappen, a sitting legislator who knocked down the KC(M) fort in Pala during the 2019 by-election, has continued his winning streak. The Assembly segment, represented by the KC(M) continuously for 54 years till 2019, swayed to the Left in the last by-election, thanks to Mr. Kappan.
Oomen Chandy, who recently completed his 50th anniversary as an MLA won from his home bastion – Puthupally, albeit with a slender margin in comparison to recent years. In the run-up to the elections, the Congress veteran was considered for Nemom constituency, but eventually decided to contest from his home turf. Mr. Chandy brushed aside the decline in voteshare saying “it was lesser when he contested for the first time 50 years back”.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala emerged victorious yet again from Haripad securing a lead of 13,666 votes. The electorate has been loyal to Mr. Chennithala through the years. He had contested to the State Assembly from here in 1982, 1987, 2011, and 2016, losing not once. In the 2016 election, he had won by a margin of 18,621 votes.
State Secretary of the Student Federation of India and LDF candidate in Balussery constituency K.M. Sachin Dev scored a whopping victory over actor Dharmajan Bolgatty, the UDF candidate, at a margin of more than 20,000 votes.
Known for its socialist lineage, Balussery saw its biggest ever victory of recent times when Mr. Dev outperformed his predecessor Purushan Kadalundi’s victory margin of 15,464 votes.
Veena George, a journalist turned politician, cemented her sway over Aranmula by retaining her seat with a margin of 13,853 votes. Going up against Sivadasan Nair of UDF – her rival from 2016, the LDF candidate managed to better her margin of 7,646 votes.
V.T. Balram | Photo Credit: Spl
UDF’s incumbent leader V.T. Balram, who had put up a spirited fight, lost to LDF’s M.B. Rajesh.
Balram, seeking a third term from Thrithala, faced a tough challenge in Thrithala as the CPI(M) fielded former Lok Sabha MP Rajesh against him.
Balram, in a Facebook post he posted even before the counting was over, conceded defeat to his CPI(M) rival. "I humbly accept peoples’ verdict in Thrithala. Best wishes to the new government," he wrote.
Suresh Gopi | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena
It was a tumultuous couple of hours for actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi, who was initially leading in the Thrissur constituency. However, as counting proceeded, P. Balachandran of CPI(M) and Padmaja Venugopal of Congress went on to take the top spot in turn. The tight three-way battle ended with Balachandran winning. Padmaja Venugopal came in second, and Suresh Gopi was moved to the third spot by the electorate.
E Sreetharan. File Photo.
‘Metro Man E. Sreedharan, one of the star candidates of the BJP, took an early lead in Palakkad constituency only to lose to UDF incumbent Shafi Parambil. This is Shafi Parambil’s third term as Palakkad MLA.
BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan too suffered a fate similar to that of E. Sreedharan and Suresh Gopi. Though he had a promising initial lead in Nemom constituency, which, incidently is the party’s only sitting seat in Kerala, he ended up losing to V. Sivankutty of CPI(M).
Mr. Rajasekharan, who was the former Governor of Mizoram, is the former president of the party’s State unit.
BJP State president K. Surendran, who had contested from both Manjeshwaram and Konni, lost in both seats.
Mr. Surendran was expected to do well in Konni, whose electoral politics underwent a huge shake-up following the Sabarimala protests in 2018. In the Parliament elections of 2019, the BJP had made significant gains from the segment though it was the Congress that held the lead.
Sabarimala had remained the key focus of its campaign while the coalition is also hoping the welfare schemes rolled out by the Union government to turn the tide in its favour.
Jose K. Mani
Son of former Kerala Congress leader K.M. Mani, Jose K. Mani suffered a heavy loss in Pala, which was a Kerala Congress stronghold for over five decades.
He had resigned from Rajya Sabha to enter State politics. After an acrimonious split from rival faction led by P.J. Joseph, he had contested from Pala as a candidate of the LDF.
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