Lone solace for LDF

A.M. Ariff wins in Alappuzha

As the United Democratic Front (UDF) wave swept the State, the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency offered the only solace for the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF).

In a neck-and-neck fight, LDF candidate A.M. Ariff of the CPI (M) defeated his nearest rival Shanimol Usman of the Congress by a margin of 9,213 votes. In doing so, the LDF wrested the seat from the UDF, which it won twice in a row in 2009 and 2014. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate K.S. Radhakrishnan of the BJP came a distant third.

The LDF candidate polled 4,43,003 votes, followed by the UDF with 4,33,790 votes, and the NDA with 1,86,278 votes. However, in the end, the 1.86 lakh votes polled by the BJP candidate, largely banking on the Sabarimala issue, turned out to be decisive, resulting in the defeat of the UDF candidate.

The NDA, which bagged 43,051 votes in the 2014 Parliament elections, more than quadrupled its vote share in 2019, eating into the votes of both the UDF and LDF. In 2014, the UDF and LDF candidates polled 4,62,525 and 4,43,118 votes respectively.

As both the LDF and the UDF fielded candidates from a minority community, the majority votes were divided between the LDF, UDF and the NDA. The minority votes were shared between the LDF and the UDF. The CPI (M), however, succeeded in keeping its core vote bank intact.

Of the total seven Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency, Ms. Usman had a lead in five segments. Mr. Ariff, however, polled big in the Cherthala Assembly segment by posting a lead of almost 17,000 votes. The only other constituency, the LDF gained upper hand was Kayamkulam, with a lead of over 4,000 votes.

An MLA representing the Aroor constituency, Mr. Ariff’s personality, his performance as a people’s representative for the past 13 years and well-oiled machinery of the ruling front turned the tide in his favour. On the other hand, the decision of K.C. Venugopal, who represented the constituency twice in a row, against seeking re-election citing party organisational responsibilities, has proved costly for the UDF.

Ariff’svictory will necessitate a bypoll in the Aroor Assembly constituency.

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