With just six months for the Kerala local body elections, the ruling Left Democratic Front government walked into a minefield of controversies, starting with the gold smuggling case. However, amidst the raging controversies against the Pinarayi Vijayan government, the LDF has managed to retain its victory in civic body polls for a second consecutive term. As of 7 pm, the LDF has already won 407 gram panchayats and is leading in another 107.
The impressive victory of the LDF in the 2020 local body polls in Kerala has come as a shock to the Congress-led Opposition. The Congress had high hopes that the multiple controversies against the Left government would work in the favour of the United Democratic Front (UDF). The BJP, too, couldn't make any major headway in grabbing the vote share in Kerala, despite an aggressive campaign. The UDF however has managed to win three city corporations, the LDF too has won an equal number.
This is the second consecutive civic body polls that has been swept by the LDF. In 2015 Kerala local body elections, the Left bagged majority of the gram panchayats and block panchayats, and maintained an upper hand in the Corporations and district panchayats.
Out of the 941 gram panchayats, LDF has currently won 407, UDF has won 252 and leading in 125 more panchayats. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won 4 gram panchayats and is leading in 19, as of 7 pm on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan thanked the voters of the state for reposing their faith on the LDF.
Thank you Kerala. Thank you for reposing faith in LDF. We are humbled by the trust and the confidence of the people of Kerala. This is a victory for secularism and inclusive development. My warm greetings to all the elected representatives. pic.twitter.com/KGnAb6Xj4f— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) December 16, 2020
Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kannur are the six Municipal Corporations in Kerala. Incidentally, for the first time, the BJP opened its account in the Kannur Municipal Corporation winning one seat. In Thiruvananthapuram, while LDF retained majority, the UDF was pushed to the third place once again. The BJP, which had high hopes of winning the Corporation, won only 34 seats. While LDF won 51 Corporation Divisions, the UDF got only 10.
The LDF has also won the Kollam and Kozhikode corporation while UDF won the Thrissur and Kannur corporation and have managed to get one more seat than the LDF in Kochi corporation.
The polls were held in three phases on December 8, 10 and 14, with impressive voter turnout of 73.12%, 76.78% and 78.64% respectively. The number of women candidates in this election was 36,305 while male candidates were 38,593. A transgender person had also contested the local body elections this year.
The Left Front’s victory stands out this year compared to its 2015 civic body polls. In 2015, the UDF government, led by Oommen Chandy, was in power in the state. However, corruption allegations against the UDF government, the solar scam in 2013 and accused Saritha S Nair’s sexual assault allegations against prominent Congress leaders, all contributed to the anti-incumbency factor, which eventually worked in the LDF’s favour.
This year, the LDF had to fight with a slew of controversies (read the gold smuggling scam), based on which both the UDF and the BJP unleashed fierce attacks against the incumbent government.
In 2015, LDF won 549 gram panchayats, while the UDF won in 365 gram panchayats and the BJP won 14.
Similarly in 2015, out of the 152 block panchayats, LDF won in 108 local bodies while UDF won in 44 block panchayats. The BJP did not win any of the block panchayats.
LDF won 37.36% of votes in the 2015 local body elections, according to the State Election Commission. UDF garnered 37.23% votes while NDA had 13.28 % and Others had 12.13%.