Kochi Corporation has been a known citadel of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) for the past 10 years. But the results of the recently held local body polls in Kerala that were announced on Wednesday, shows that urban voters have decided to choose the Left Democratic Front (LDF) this time. The LDF has emerged with the highest number of seats, paving a relatively easy way to grasp power in the metro city. Meanwhile, the UDF lost even its most expected seats, including that of its Mayor candidate and retaining power will be a herculean task for the Congress-led front.
In the 74-member local body, 38 seats are required to get an absolute majority. While LDF won 34 seats, which includes five of its Left-backed Independent candidates, and the UDF got 31 seats including one Congress-backed Independent. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured five seats, and the remaining four seats were won by rebel candidates.
Though it may look somewhat equally possible for both UDF and LDF to get the 38 mark, many feel that it isnât so. Considering the political landscape of Kerala, BJP councillors are most likely to abstain, without supporting either the UDF or LDF, when it comes to selecting the Mayor.
Then, out of the existing 69 members, a front will only need a simple majority of 35 members to grasp power. Since LDF already has 34 seats, the party feels that it is just a matter of taking one of the four rebel candidates into confidence. This path has been cleared for the Left as the rebel candidate of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), has already come out to the media, hinting that he will support LDF.
âMy consideration is for the developing the backwardness of the Mattacherry and an attempt for that will be there from CPI(M) and LDF, that is why I am unconditionally supporting them,â TK Asharaf, the IUML rebel who won from Kalvathy, told media on Thursday. Giving more cues that the IUML rebel will support the LDF, CPI(M)âs district chief CN Mohanan met TK Asharaf on Thursday.
UDFâs possibility to retain power is very bleak. With one of the four rebels already extending support to LDF, getting 35 marks is close to zero possibility. While a section of Congress leaders, including N Venugopal, who contested and lost for polls, said it will be a very difficult task, Member of Parliament Hibi Eden told the media that UDF will continue to âtry to retain powerâ.
UDF's vote share in Kochi has considerably reduced from the past. In the last elections, LDF had just won 23 seats while UDF secured 38. 11 Independent candidates had won at the time. Meanwhile, the NDA has improved its performance. Last year, the BJP-led coalition won in two wards, but this time it secured five.
UDF leads only in two corporations
While LDF leads in Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram, UDF only leads in Kannur and Thrissur.
In Kannur corporation, UDF won 34 seats while LDF secured 19. Among these 34 seats, 14 are for the Indian Union Muslim League. NDA opened its account in Kannur for the first time by winning a seat in Pallikkunnu ward. VK Shaiju of BJP won from the ward. One Independent candidate also won in the elections.
In 2015, UDF had only got 27 seats in Kannur corporation, while LDF had secured 26 seats. This time UDF had a huge victory in Kannur.
In Kozhikode corporation, LDF won with 49 seats. UDF won in 14 wards while NDA won in seven. Five independent candidates also won in Kozhikode corporation. In Kozhikode the trend remained almost the same from the previous elections as in 2015 LDF had won in 47 wards. UDF had secured 20 seats and NDA won in seven wards.
In Thrissur corporation, UDF won 23 seats while LDF won in 20 seats. Though NDA had big expectations in Thrissur, they could get only six seats. Five Independent candidates also won. In 2015, LDF had governed the corporation with 23 seats. UDF secured 21 seats at the time while BJP won in six wards.
In Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram, LDF had a sweeping victory. In Kollam, they won by securing 39 seats, a little more than 2015. They won 35 seats at the time. UDF and NDA got nine and six seats respectively in Kollam. UDF influence in Kollam has considerably reduced since they had got 16 seats in last elections. Thiruvananthapuram corporation also witnessed LDF victory with 51 seats.
In Thiruvananthapuram, where NDA had major hope, they could win 34 seats. Even in the previous elections, it was the same figure. While the LDF won 51 seats, in a major setback to the UDF, that had 21 elected members in the corporation in 2015, they have been reduced to just six seats in the capital city.