ALAPPUZHA: The victory of A M Ariff, the sitting MLA of Aroor from Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency, has provided a respite to the ruling front LDF in the state. Out of the 20 seats, only Alappuzha stood behind the LDF from the beginning of counting.
In the first round, Ariff’s margin was 65 votes. Later, the margin changed in favour of Shanimol Usman of the UDF. However, until the counting of around 12 per cent of votes, Shanimol’s margin increased, giving a feel of victory for the UDF. But the situation started to change with the counting of the third round, when the margin of Ariff started to increase giving a glimmer of hope to the LDF camp.
Later, the margin increased narrowly in each round and it reached above five digits after half the votes were counted. Uncertainty again loomed large over the counting of the final 20 per cent votes. His margin came down from 15,000 to below 10,000 and at times, LDF activists lost hope.
BJP candidate K S Radhakrishnan’s super performance led to the defeat of Shanimol. He bagged 1,86,000 votes and in the 2014 election NDA candidate A V Thamarakshan had bagged 43,051 votes. Political observers said the Sabarimala issue helped the BJP to increase its vote share. The majority of votes garnered by the BJP were the votes of the UDF candidate. The support to Ariff from Cherthala and Kayamkulam Assembly constituencies helped him win the contest. In five other Assembly constituencies, Shanimol had the lead. In the 2016 election, only Harippad supported the UDF.
Aroor, the home constituency of Ariff, which he had won by a margin of more than 38,000 votes in the 2016 Assembly election, abandoned him. Shanimol got a margin of 650 votes from the segment. However, Ariff gained a margin of 16,800 votes from Cherthala and 4,200 votes from Kayamkulam, which helped him emerge victorious.