New alliances help LDF and UDF make gains; BJP fails to strike a chord with rural electorate
The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) says a combination of factors have worked in its favour in Kozhikode district in the three-tier local body polls.
The induction of the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) and the Indian National League (INL) has helped the Left coalition electorally overcome the anti-incumbency factor.
The LDF increased its tally in the Kozhikode Corporation to 51 from 47 and in the Kozhikode District Panchayat from 16 to 18 seats. It also captured a block panchayat, increasing the number to 10, leaving the remaining two to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
A major achievement for the Left front was capturing three divisions — Beypore, Beypore Port and Marad – in the Kozhikode Corporation from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by systematically doing its homework and fielding the right candidates.
However, CPI(M) leaders are studying the failures in municipalities such as Ramanattukara, Feroke and Payyoli.
The LDF also did not retain the Mukkom municipality which threw up a hung council this time. It could retain only two municipalities — Vadakara and Koyilandy.
Another electoral embarrassment for the LDF was the victory of controversial businessman Karat Faisal, who stood as an Independent candidate after he was denied a seat, in Chundappuram ward in Koduvally. Here, the INL nominee Abdul Rasheed polled no votes.
Nothing to cheer about
The results of local body polls brought no cheer for the UDF which faced the polls without the Janata Dal (United), which later metamorphosed as the LJD. Its seat tally in the Kozhikode Corporation was reduced to 17 from 19. Likewise, in the Kozhikode district panchayat, the number of UDF seats went down from 11 to 9.
However, its electoral association with the Welfare Party of India, the political avatar of the Jamaat Islami Hind, paid rich dividends in the municipalities and a few grama panchayats.
The UDF moderately increased the number of grama panchayats it won to 27 from 24 last time.
The BJP district leadership, which pinned its hopes on several Central schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana and Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, failed to strike a chord with the rural electorate. The steep increase in prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders during the polls also added to the angst of voters.
The party leadership can take solace in the fact that the BJP won 35 seats including seven seats in Kozhikode Corporation. In the 2015 polls, the party had won 27 seats. The local leadership is examining the defeat of its nominees in three wards in the erstwhile Beypore grama panchayat. In the tri-cornered contest in the corporation, BJP candidates finished second in 22 divisions.
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