While the LDF recorded a gain of 14,423 votes over what it received in the 2016 Assembly polls, the BJP recorded a drop of 7,412 votes from 2016.

Chengannur bye-poll As LDF scores big victory BJP faces loss of ground
news Politics Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 18:57

As the numbers rolled in from Chengannur, it was disappointment for the BJP and smug satisfaction for the LDF. In what is seen as the last major bye-poll in Kerala before the General Elections next year, the Left Democratic Front  (LDF) candidate Saji Cheriyan secured a landslide victory in the Chengannur bye-poll.

Saji Cheriyan received a total of 67,303 votes, while the UDF candidate Vijakumar came in second with 46,347 votes. The BJP’s Shreedharan Pillai  was pushed to a dismal third place with 35,270 votes.

Saji won by a margin of 20,956 votes, which is more than double that of the lead the party secured in the 2016 Assembly Election.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that the party's sweeping victory in the Chengannur bye-poll was the result of faith of the common man in the present government.

He also took a dig at the BJP, saying that the people of Kerala had rejected the communal agenda of the right-wing.

Compared to the Assembly Election in 2016, in which LDF candidate Ramachandran secured 52,880 votes, Saji Cheriyan secured 14,423 votes more than his predecessor.

While the LDF's vote share rose to 44.2%, the Congress's vote share stands at 30.48%, slightly lower than its 2016 share of 30.88%. What is noteworthy is how the BJP’s vote share has dipped considerably in the bye-poll.

The tally of votes for the BJP dropped by 7,412 votes from the 42,682 votes secured by its candidate Sreedharan Pillai in the 2016 polls. The party’s vote share too has dipped to 23.1%, as opposed to the nearly 29.36% share it received in the Assembly Election.

For the BJP, which has only one MLA in the state assembly and has been working frenetically towards making inroads into Kerala, this decrease in vote share has come as a setback.

"The organizational strength of the CPI (M) exposed the communal agenda of the BJP. People have realized that what the BJP is doing is polarization. The BJP government could not keep its promises, and has cheated the people after giving false promises like the generation of 2 lakh crore jobs," said Biju, DYFI leader and Chairman of the State Youth Welfare Board.

CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also stressed on the BJP's decreased vote share, while speaking to mediapersons in New Delhi.

"BJP claimed Chengannur will mark the downfall of Left rule in Kerala. But BJP vote share decreased. So whose downfall is it? Chengannur gives a message not just for Kerala, but also to the entire country," Yechury was quoted as saying by News 18.

However, the BJP refused to see the dip in vote share as an indication for the party's tenuous popularity in the state.

Taking to Facebook, BJP general secretary K Surendran said that receiving more than 35,000 votes in the election was no small thing and accused the Left of relying on communal politics.

"The Left won by playing a strong communal card. Chengannur proves that the BJP is a force that cannot be sidelined in Kerala. Despite using all the government machinery, the truth is that they could not influence BJP supporters," Surendran wrote in Malayalam. 

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