THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Notwithstanding the row over the Sabarimala women entry issue, the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala Friday bagged 16 out of the 30 seats in the bypolls conducted for various local bodies across the state.
The Congress-led United Democratic Front got 12 seats while the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) and a Congress rebel retained the seats at Onchiyam in Kozhikode and Alappuzha district respectively.
The BJP, which spearheaded the Sabarimala protests and had high hopes, came a cropper, failing to win any seat.
In a setback to the ruling CPI(M), the RMP, to which slain leader T P Chandrasekharan belonged, retained the Onchiyam Panchayat seat.
The CPI(M) had been saying the RMP had lost its relevance and was expecting to win this seat.
RMP's P Sreejith won the fifth ward of Onchiyam panchayat with a majority of 308 votes and retained power in the Panchayat.
The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of RMP member A K Gopinath.
The election assumed importance as RMP was formed by Chandrasekharan, who was a former fellow-traveller of the CPI(M).
Chandrasekharan was killed in May 2012, three years after he parted ways with the CPI(M) and founded the RMP.
In the bypolls, UDF lost five of its sitting seats in which four were won by the LDF and one by a Congress rebel.
However, UDF won the five seats which were the sitting seats of ruling LDF.
In the November 2018 bypolls, the LDF had won 21 out of the 39 seats.
The UDF had secured 12 seats while BJP two.
The Supreme Court had on September 28 last year allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple, where earlier women in the menstruating age of 10-50 years were barred from offering prayers.
With the LDF government making it clear that it was constitutionally bound to implement the top court verdict, the BJP and right-wing outfits and a section of devotees had launched massive and violent protests on the issue.