KC(M) feels heat of LDF’s loss in Puthuppally
KC(M) votes dropped significantly in this panchayat despite active campaigning by party chairman Jose K Mani and Minister Roshy Augustine.
KOTTAYAM: The humiliating defeat of the LDF in the Puthuppally by-election has put the Kerala Congress (M) in a spot. Even as the LDF reviews the reasons for defeat, it is looking at the possible erosion of KC(M) vote bank. Setting out on a fight in the UDF bastion, the LDF had pinned its hopes on KC(M) votes. Despite the sympathy wave, the Left had expected victory for CPM’s Jaick C Thomas banking on the Kerala Congress vote base. Having considerable influence among Christians, especially Catholics, the Left expected significant support in local bodies like Akalakkunnam, Ayarkkunnam and some pockets of Vakathanam. Contrary to expectations, KC (M) failed to prevent the flow of Catholic votes to the UDF.
In Akalakunnam, where KC (M) has five panchayat members, the LDF candidate was further pushed back compared to the last assembly election. While Oommen Chandy had a margin of 1,818 votes in 2021, his son and UDF candidate Chandy Oommen bettered it to 4,151 votes this time around. Of the 11,120 votes polled in the panchayat, UDF garnered 7,255 votes with a vote share of 65.25 per cent.
KC (M) votes dropped significantly in this panchayat despite active campaigning by party chairman Jose K Mani and Minister Roshy Augustine. “Of the eight panchayats, Congress got the highest vote share and percentage of margin from Akalakunnam. We got tremendous support even in KC (M) strongholds,” said Tomy Kallani, former DCC president who was in charge of the panchayat in the by-election.
Meanwhile, the KC (M) leadership dismissed any drop in its votes. “The by-election was declared within three weeks of Oommen Chandy’s demise. Hence, the sympathy wave played a predominant role. Despite such a wave, KC (M) votes were polled in favour of LDF,” said Jose K Mani. According to him, when there was a four-fold increase in UDF’s total margin compared to 2021, there was only less than the two-and-half-fold increase in Akalakunnam. “Puthuppally is a UDF constituency and the Oommen Chandy factor was prevalent. The defeat would have been far worse, had it not been for the KC(M) votes,” he said, adding that KC (M) and the LDF would examine whether there was any loss in the LDF votes.
Notably, CPI, which always resisted the emergence of KC (M) as a formidable force in the Left Front, was not ready to put all the blame on KC (M).
“The LDF was helpless in the impact of the sympathy wave that swept the election. There is no point in accusing any of the constituents of the defeat in such a scenario. All the constituents worked in unison for the LDF candidate,” said V B Binu, CPI district president. He, however, maintained that the LDF vote base was not shattered in the sympathy wave.