THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While the LDF’s win in Vattiyoorkavu is politically significant, it also sends out a socially relevant message across the state. The voters of the constituency, not only gave a thumbs up to the youth factor and a development-oriented positive campaign, but turned their back on caste-based politics. The voters’ voice was loud clear: field the right candidate, focus on development and we’ll stand by you. The whopping margin of 14,000-plus votes that LDF’s VK Prasanth grossed, despite the caste factor going against him in a hugely Nair-dominated seat, underlines this message.
LDF’s successful gamble
The LDF, on its part, took a calculated risk this time around. The CPM-led front handpicked a candidate who could clearly be projected as a mascot of development. Though caste equations went against Prasanth, the LDF knew his work as Mayor, his appeal among the youth, popularity due to flood relief work and his unassuming nature would more than compensate for it.
UDF’s flawed strategy
With a clear eye on the majority community vote, the UDF tried to stoke the Sabarimala fire, with even senior leaders like A K Antony and Oommen Chandy giving more focus on the issue while conveniently sidelining matters of development. Then came the open backing by the NSS, which the UDF considered a shot in the arm. But the Congress-led front failed to gauge the adverse fallout of this ‘bear hug’ on voters from other communities and also a section of the Nair community itself. The Congress-led front’s vote share was five per cent less than in 2016.
BJP’s candidate woes
The confusion in candidate selection and BJP district president S Suresh replacing Kummanam Rajasekharan at the last moment did have a bearing on the results. The BJP, which had emerged second in the last two Assembly polls, crashed to the third spot this time around. Its vote share which was close to 30 per cent in 2016, eroded by nearly 10 per cent this time.