THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In what can be termed as a public referendum on the prevailing political situation in the state ahead of the general election, the bypolls held in 30 wards in 12 districts have seen the LDF retaining its upper-hand winning 15 out of the total 30 seats it contested, just two short of its previous tally of 17. While, the UDF won 12 seats, keeping the same tally it won in the previous poll.
Interestingly, the BJP which has been hoping to ride high on the Sabarimala wave failed to capitalise on the sentiment and drew blank in the elections. The RMP which contested the fifth ward in Onchiyam panchayat retained the seat, while two independent candidates including a UDF rebel, won the elections. While the UDF wrested power from the LDF in five seats in the state, the LDF wrested three seats from the UDF. The UDF also lost two seats to independents in Jilla Kodathi ward in Alappuzha municipality and Ilayoor ward at Kavannoor panchayat in Malappuram, respectively.
The BJP, which put up a tight fight in Puthusherrymala in Ranni panchayat in Pathanamthitta, where Sabarimala is situated, conceded defeat to the CPM which won the seat by a margin of 55 votes retaining the seat. It also wrested power in Vyttila Janatha, Lilli, Purathur wards from the UDF, while the UDF wrested power in Chamavilappuram, Narayanavilasam, Kaippuzha post office, Plamudi, and Mangalam wards from the LDF. Similarly, out of the 12 wards the UDF won, in three wards the majority was below 20 votes.
The LDF is expected to wrest power from the UDF in Tirur block panchayat where the UDF has lost its sitting seat to the LDF. The Kavannur panchayat in Malappuram is also likely to witness a change of guard where the UDF rebel who contested as an independent won the seat. The BJP which expected a good performance in its strongholds also failed to deliver in many wards.