The script did not alter much from the previous elections in the Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat as the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) won by a brute majority of 20 out of 26 divisions, improving its tally by one division, despite a high voltage campaign by the Opposition parties.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) won six seats, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost its sole sitting seat of Venganoor.
The BJP had fielded its former Thiruvananthapuram district secretary S. Suresh in the Venganoor seat as a kind of statement that the party is aiming to win the district panchayat. Although it had appeared a tall order at the outset, the party was confident of retaining its sitting seat and winning some more. But when results last came in, Mr. Suresh was trailing by more than 2,000 votes to LDF’s Bhagath Rufus, son of former district panchayat vice president Rufus Daniel.
The LDF has won consistently in the Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat except in 2010, when the UDF had a narrow win. This time, the LDF had a long list of achievements to show in the local body, including national and State awards, and welfare projects like the ‘Padheyam’ project, under which daily meals were given to 6,500 people. It wrested from the UDF the Anad, Maryapuram, Poovachal, Pallichal and Malayinkeezh divisions. The UDF managed to retain only the Kanjiramkulam division, but it wrested the Kilimanoor, Palode, Vellanad, Vellarada and Balaramapuram divisions from the LDF.
The loss in Palode is particularly of concern to the LDF, since the outgoing president V.K. Madhu, won here last time.
One of the biggest margins of victory was for the LDF’s Geetha Nazir, who was leading by more than 9,000 votes in the Chemmaruthy division when results last came in. UDF candidate Ansajitha Russel, the district panchayat president in the 2010-15 term, is leading by more than 7,000 votes in the Vellarada division.
The fight was mostly between the LDF and UDF in most wards, and the BJP was relegated to a distant third in many divisions.
The results would give much confidence to the LDF as it shows that many of the left strongholds in the capital district’s rural areas are remaining intact, even though there are causes for concern in some divisions. While the UDF has few reasons to cheer for, the BJP will be disappointed at its failure to make further inroads into the rural regions, in a manner similar to what it achieved in the district’s urban centres.