Chandy Oommen wins it for Congress

The poll outcome is inconsequential to the numbers of the ruling and opposition fronts in the assembly.

Published: 09th September 2023 08:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2023 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

Chandy Oommen being cheered on by a euphoric group of UDF followers as he emerges from the counting station in Kottayam on Friday | Vishnu Prathap

Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: Riding on a sympathy wave swelled by a strong anti-government current, UDF candidate Chandy Oommen romped home  in the Puthuppally by-election, necessitated by the demise of his father Oommen Chandy, registering a record margin of 37,719 votes. The Congress candidate secured 61.17% of the votes and defeated CPM’s Jaick C Thomas by the second-highest margin in the history of assembly by-elections in the state. Chandy Oommen secured 80,144 votes against Jaick’s 42,425 (32.38%).

The poll outcome is inconsequential to the numbers of the ruling and opposition fronts in the assembly. But it is sure to force the ruling CPM-led LDF to do some serious introspection with only a few months remaining for the all-imporant Lok Sabha poll. NDA’s G Lijin Lal lost his deposit. He could garner only a paltry 6,558 votes against 11,694 votes won by the BJP in the 2021 assembly election.

As soon as counting began on Friday morning, Chandy Oommen raced past Jaick and steadily increased his lead with each round. 

He established an impressive majority in all the eight grama panchayats in the constituency. Jaick failed to gain the upper hand even in his own booth in Manarcad panchayat and cooperation minister V N Vasavan’s booth in Pampady.

Earlier, counting was delayed by 10 minutes following confusion over opening the strong room at Baselius College in Kottayam. Postal votes were counted initially and counting of EVM votes began by 8.40 am. After the first round of counting was completed, Oommen enjoyed a lead of 5,487 votes. 

‘Will usher in devpt to constituency’

While the fifth round was progressing, he passed his father’s margin in the last assembly election (9,044 votes). Oommen’s margin passed 25,000 when half of the votes were counted. He registered a record margin in the history of Puthuppally constituency in the 10th round of counting.

Speaking to the media after the results were announced, Oommen said he would follow in his father’s footsteps and usher in development to the constituency. 

“I consider this as the 13th victory of my father. I assure the voters that I will live up to their expectations. They have voted for the continuation of the development. My father was here for the past 53 years ensuring care and development. I would be here to continue the same,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jaick said the LDF has not lost its political base in the constituency, but failed to counter the sympathy wave. “When we compare this election results with those of previous years, we can see that LDF has not lost its political base. I did not see any lapse anywhere in the election work. However, it was not easy for the LDF to win an election which was held in an emotional setting,” he said.

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