The bye–election was conducted for 30 local body wards in 12 districts. The CPI (M)-led LDF won 16 seats and UDF got 12 while BJP could not win a single seat.

Setback for CPIM as rival RMP retains Onchiyam panchayat in local body bye-polls
news Politics Friday, February 15, 2019 - 16:03

In a major setback to the ruling CPI(M), the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) which slain leader TP Chandrasekharan belonged to, retained the Onchiyam Panchayat seat in Kozhikode.

P Sreejith of RMP won the Onchiyam panchayat fifth ward – Puthiyottumkandi with a majority of 308 votes. By winning the seat in the fifth ward, the RMP has also retained power in the Panchayat, which it has been ruling with a majority of a single seat.

The panchayat has 17 wards. The panchayat is under the rule of the RMP, with the backing of United Democratic Front which is led by the Congress. The bye–election was necessitated after the death of RMP member AK Gopinath.

Ahead of the elections, Sreejith had reportedly sought police protection alleging that the CPI(M) has been trying to sabotage the election after which the police deployed security for the candidates in the by-poll.

Onchiyam is the only panchayat in the state where the RMP is in power. The victory assumes more importance given the fact that RMP was floated by TP Chandrasekharan, the former fellow-traveller of the CPI(M). The CPI(M) has been accused of plotting the murder of TP, as he is commonly known as, and CPI(M) leader PK Kunjananthan is one of the convict in the murder case.

TP Chandrasekharan was hacked to death in May 2015. He was murdered in cold blood three years after he parted ways with the CPI (M) and founded RMP in 2009. TP’s wife KK Rema is now leading the party. She has moved the Kerala High Court against the frequent paroles granted to Kunjananthan.

LDF gains

The by-poll was conducted for 30 local body wards in 12 districts of the state. The CPI(M)-led LDF, however, won 16 of the 30 seats as per the latest information. The UDF has won 12 seats while BJP could not win a single seat. The remaining seat was won by an independent candidate

A notable achievement for the CPI (M) is winning Puthuserri West seat of Ranni panchayat in Pathanamthitta, the district that has witnessed turbulent protests against the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the temple. Sabarimala is situated in Pathanamthitta.

The LDF had gained in the bye-election conducted in November 2018 as well by winning 21 out of the 39 seats. The UDF had secured 12 seats in the elections while BJP had won two seats.