Congress candidate K.A. Sabarinathan won the Aruvikara assembly constituency by-election in Kerala, beating his nearest rival by around 10,000 votes….reports Asian Lite News.
Sabarinathan, 31, was leading right from the start in the counting of votes in the morning. According to the official website of the chief electoral officer, Sabarinathan secured 56,448 votes and the official declaration is expected shortly.
The constituency essentiaally witnessed a triangular contest between the Congress, the CPI-M and the BJP.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist nominated 67-year-old former speaker and minister M. Vijayakumar, who secured 46,320 votes.
The Bharatiya Janata Party put up its regular warhorse O. Rajagopal, 85, who garnered 34,145 votes.
The election was necessitated after assembly speaker G. Karthikeyan died in March. He had represented the constituency for 24 long years. Sabarinathan is his son.
There were 16 candidates in the fray and 184,210 voters – up from 164,884 in 2011 when Karthikeyan won by over 10,000 votes – and the bypoll which saw a 70 percent turnout.
While Sabarinathan and Rajagopal kept a tab on the counting process from their homes, Vijayakumar was spotted at the counting centre in the capital city.
Veteran BJP leader O. Rajagopal finished third in Aruvikara constituency in Kerala on Tuesday but the party’s vote share saw a significant five-fold increase from 2011.
The development stunned both the Congress, whose K.A. Sabarinathan won the seat by 10,128 votes, and the Left. Sabarinathan got 56,448 votes with CPI-M leader M. Vijayakumar finishing second with 46,320 votes.
The 85-year-old Rajagopal polled 34,145 votes, against the around 7,000 votes the party got in the 2011 assembly elections.
The BJP is yet to open its account in the 140-member Kerala assembly.
“I am sad we could not finish in the second place but the writing on the wall for the Oommen Chandy government is clear that corruption will not be tolerated,” said Rajagopal.
Rajagopal has contested more than half a dozen elections in Kerala. He lost the 2014 Lok Sabha election to Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor by a mere 15,000 votes.
“We are the only party to see a huge growth in our voter base in Aruvikara,” Bharatiya Janata Party state president V. Muraleedharan told IANS.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy played down the performance of Rajagopal, saying the votes had been secured by him in view of his stature and not by the BJP.
“The CPI-M’s negative campaign also helped the BJP,” said Chandy.
CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said there were a lot of undercurrents in the constituency on caste creed and communal lines. “This does not augur well,” he said.
The BJP has been trying its best for years to make an electoral mark in Kerala, where the two main contenders for power are the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the Left Democratic Front of the CPI-M.