Kochi: The victory of the Congress-UDF in the Thrikkakara Assembly byelections is a massive political setback for Kerala’s ruling CPI(M)-led LDF. Uma Thomas of the Congress emerged victorious with over 25,000 votes against the Left candidate Jo Joseph.
Uma Thomas, the widow of prominent party leader and former legislator from the constituency, the late PT Thomas, remained ahead since the beginning of the counting of votes and, in the end, won the seat quite comfortably.
CPI (M) leaders, including chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, left no stone unturned for their party in the constituency. But their efforts proved futile. Party workers of the Congress are jubilant after the result and dubbed it a slap on the face of the ruling Vijayan government. The chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, termed the loss shocking and unexpected.
The Congress-UDF candidate secured over 72,000 votes, while her nearest rival managed to get just over 47,000 votes. The BJP nominee, A N Radhakrishnan, grabbed the third spot.
The bypoll in Thrikkakara, an urban constituency of the Kochi Corporation, took place after the death of Thomas last year. The loss has sent the ruling party mood sombre because the top brass of the party, including CM Vijayan, actively participated in the campaign.
Congress-UDF strongly opposed the proposed K-Rail semi-high speed rail corridor. UDF wanted to go through with the project. It was a major issue during the campaign in the constituency, Vijayan had said it was a battle between the proponents of pro-development and anti-development.
Many Left leaders, including CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, have stated unequivocally that the bypoll result will harm the Vijayan government and the mood of public is against the government.
However, the result is a morale booster for the Congress-UDF, which failed miserably in last year’s assembly polls in Kerala.