Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling Left-led coalition in Kerala today scooped up an enormous win in local body polls seen by all parties as a litmus test before assembly elections within the state next year. The ruling alliance, hammered by corruption allegations, has taken most of the grama panchayats and district panchayats, or self-governing bodies in villages and districts.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) is leading in 520 of 945 grama panchayats and therefore the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in 371.
The LDF is additionally winning 10 of 14 district panchayats — compared to the seven it held — and 108 of 152 block panchayats, consistent with State committee figures.
The UDF is ahead in four district panchayats and is additionally leading in 45 of 86 municipalities, compared to the LDF’s 35.
The BJP did not make a breakthrough in Thiruvananthapuram because it had hoped for, though it pushed Congress to 3rd place during a triangular fight. The Left has improved on its 2015 tally within the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, with a majority in 51 of 100 wards. The BJP-led NDA has taken 34 and therefore the UDF remains within the third spot. In 2015, the LDF had won 42 wards and therefore the BJP alliance had 34.
Voting happened in three rounds earlier this month for seats in 941-gram panchayats, 152 block panchayats, 14 district panchayats, 86 municipalities, and 6 corporations.
In 2015, the LDF had won in most of the local bodies. In district panchayats, the UDF and LDF were at seven each.
The BJP also counted some gains today; its counselor won within the Kannur Corporation for the primary time. The party clinched Pandalam Municipality in Pathanamthitta, additionally to retaining Palakkad Municipality — in 2015, it had won just one municipality.
But the BJP’s mayor candidate and spokesperson B Gopalakrishnan lost to his UDF rival during a seat held by the party within the Thrissur Corporation.
This time, the campaign for the polls saw the LDF and therefore the refore the UDF sparring over the state’s coronavirus crisis and the gold smuggling case during which Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office was drawn into corruption allegations. The LDF rubbished the allegations and tried to focus its campaign on development schemes.
Kerala minister of finance TM Thomas Isaac said the LDF was heading towards a “resounding” victory. “People reject the slander campaign of Congress and BJP and also the machinations of central agencies. it’s a vote for left politics and development alternative of Kerala government,” Mr. Isaac tweeted.
Despite a lead in municipalities, the Congress-led opposition has lost the key corporations of Kochi and Thrissur to the LDF, retaining Kannur.
Congress’s Ramesh Chennithala said: “Our performance has been good. We expected a far better performance, considering the corruption of the government…Local body elections aren’t completely on political basis.”
The LDF accuses the BJP of using central agencies to focus on the government with probes just like the gold smuggling case or the state government’s flagship housing program.