Kerala Local Body elections : BJP makes history by making inroads, UDF gets a jolt

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Kerala Local Body election results show a decisive victory for the Opposition Left front. The Congress-led UDF suffered a massive setback, while BJP saw a historical coming-of-age in Kerala political scene. Of the 6 Municipal Corporations, Kollam and Kozhikode saw a sweeping victory for LDF. UDF kept its rule in Kochi and can hold Kannur with the support of a rebel Congress Councilor. Thiruvananthapuram, the capital Corporation has BJP as the single largest party and is likely to see a Hung House. LDF and UDF each won 7 District Panchayats. It was a landslide victory for the Left in Block and Grama Panchayats. Of the 94 Grama Panchayats, LDF won 539 while UDF had to be satisfied with 366 Panchayats. BJP won 15 Grama Panchayats. LDF will rule in 90 Block Panchayats and UDF was kept down to just 61. Both the Fronts are on equal footing with regard to Municipalities. LDF has 43 Municipalities, while UDF has 42.
BJP’s emergence as a force to be reckoned with is perhaps the single most important political development in this election.  Kerala had so far remained relatively immune to RSS politics even during the all-sweeping Modi Wave.  But this election saw a clear rise in BJP votes. BJP scored heavily against the UDF in various Municipalities and Panchayats. The party, that had a strength of just 6 Councilors in the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation (TMC) has bettered its position by almost 600% with 34 seats. The Party President, Amit Shah himself had instructed the state party to bring the capital corporation under its rule. The stunning performance of the party, that too in TMC which was held by LDF for four decades, will be a huge boost for BJP in the coming Assembly Elections.
If the sun had risen on Kerala BJP’s political horizon, it was sunset in the case of various regional and smaller parties and caste outfits. The biggest loser in terms of political presence would be Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), a former Left-ally which had transferred allegiance just before Lok Sabha Elections. RSP lost 7 out of 1 seats contested in its stronghold Kollam Corporation.
Kerala Congress (B), led by R Balakrishna Pillai, lost 6 out of 8 seats contested in Kottarakkara. Balakrishna Pillai had left UDF and entered LDF some months ago. RMP, a splinter-group of CPM also lost its hold in Onchiyam, despite it being the hometown of RMP’s martyr T P Chandrasekharan. SNDP Yogam, an Ezhava caste outfit, had joined hands with BJP in this election. The SNDP-BJP alliance failed to yield results in any of the seats it contested. This has landed a severe blow to the political aspirations of SNDP’s General Secretary Vellappalli Natesan.
UDF allies Muslim Leauge and Kerala Congress (M) performed above par in the elections. Kerala Congress Secular, led by P C George, proved their might in Kottayam. This helps George in his quest for entry to LDF. Another winner is Twenty-20, a set of candidates fielded by Kitex, a Textile Corporate. Twenty-20 won  of the 19 seats contested in Kizhakambalam Panchayat. This is the first time that a non-political outfit is gaining such grounds in the state.

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