KOCHI: When Congress announced young Turk Hibi Eden MLA as its candidate for Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency, nobody thought the constituency would give him a record margin. Hibi won by a margin of 1,69,153 votes - the highest majority in the history of Ernakulam. It was the record set by his father late George Eden, who had won with a majority of 1,11,305 votes in 1999, that Hibi broke this time.
Hibi’s candidature had triggered a controversy after the remarks made by sitting MP K V Thomas, who was all set to contest again. However, the Congress leadership decided to field a young candidate and ignored Thomas’ opposition. That was how Hibi, the sitting MLA of Ernakulam, got a chance to contest in the Lok Sabha elections for the first time. However, he justified the faith reposed in him by the party. In the 2014 LS election, K V Thomas had won the seat by a majority of 87,047 votes.
“This is a victory of unity. Ever since the list of candidates was announced, we all worked together with one aim. It helped us post a thumping victory in Ernakulam. I thank all the voters, who stood with me for my victory,” Hibi told reporters after the announcement of results.
Out of the total of 9,67,390 votes polled in Ernakulam, Hibi got a total of 4,91,263 votes. He got 50.78 per cent of the total votes polled.
Hibi’s main opponent was CPM’s, P Rajeev. Though he is regarded as a well recognised CPM leader, it seems Rajeev lost the battle to Hibi in the strong UDF wave that swept the state. Rajeev got a total of 3,22,110 votes. BJP’s candidate Alphons Kannanthanam, who got 1,37,749 votes, came third while NOTA came fourth. In all, 5,378 pressed the NOTA button.
“Ernakulam is traditionally a stronghold of the Congress party. This year there was a consolidation of minority votes in the state which went in favour of the UDF. Ours is a democracy and the defeat will not dampen our spirits. I will be there, for the people and with the people,” said Rajeev.