Left Wins Kerala Civic Polls, Downplays BJP Surge

The election outcome is significant as it would indicate the political trend of the state, where the assembly poll is scheduled to be held in mid-2016.

Thiruvananthapuram: In the crucial local body elections in Kerala, the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Democratic Front or LDF has emerged the winner.

The results overturned its setback of 2010 when Congress-led United Democratic Front or UDF had won the majority in panchayats and municipalities.

Amidst massive celebrations by party supporters, CPI-M veteran VS Achuthanandan said the verdict spelled an end to UDF wins in Kerala.

LDF had not won any by-elections in the state since 2010. "The verdict is a slap on the face of chief minister Oommen Chandy and a vote against the communal forces trying to enter Kerala. We have even won in some UDF strong holds," VS Achuthanandan told journalists.

While the UDF retained its hold over Ernakulam Corporation and is hopeful of ruling Kannur with the help of an independent candidate, LDF has won in four corporations out of the six.

"BJP win is temporary in nature. But we have not done that well. We will seriously look into the causes political causes, candidate selection and others issues that could have caused us our defeat," Kerala Congress President VM sudheeran said. Home Minister and senior congress leader Ramesh Chennithala called for a "serious introspection for the severe beating in these local polls".

But it was the gains made by the BJP that few had expected. The BJP emerged as the single largest party in prestigious Thiruvanthapuram Corportaion and a second winner, relegating UDF to a distant third in an unprecedented manner.

In many of the wards of the six corporations, BJP emerged at a second position, in what was seen as a major concern for the UDF and LDF.  Both the coalitions however downplayed the BJP gains in the state.

"From six wards in Trivandrum in 2010, we have reached 34. This is the people of Kerala putting their trust in us, and voting against a corrupt UDF and LDF," V Rajesh BJP state spokesperson told NDTV.

The local body elections have been pegged as the 'semi-finals' ahead of the Assembly elections mid next year. The final figures for the election are expected only later tomorrow.

Elections to civic polls were held in two phases on November 2 and 5. A total of 75,549 candidates contested for the 21 905 seats.

The main contestants - UDF, CPM-headed LDF Opposition and BJP - fought the polls keenly to six corporations, 86 municipalities, 941 gram panchayats, 152 block panchayats and 14 district panchayats

A total of 75,549 candidates contested 21,905 wards.