The Indian Union MuslimLeague (IUML), a key partner in the Congress-led UDFOpposition in Kerala, today retained the Vengara Assembly seatby defeating its nearest rival CPI-M candidate in the by-poll.
IUML candidate K N A Khader won the seat with a margin of23,310 votes over CPI-M nominee P P Basheer, a districtofficial said after the result was announced. BJP candidate K Jayachandran Master secured?5,728 votesand SDPI'S K C Naseer got 8,648?votes.
The UDF and LDF garnered 65,227 and 41,917 votesrespectively. The constituency had recorded a 72.12 percentage voterturnout during the by-election held on October 11.
However, the UDF's victory margin was less than itreceived in the 2016 assembly polls, in the segment consideredto be a stronghold of IUML. IUML leader P K Kunalikutty had won the seat with a hugemargin of 38,057?votes beating CPI-M's Basheer in 2016.
The BJP had polled 7,211 votes in the segment. Last year, UDF got 72,181 and LDF 34,121 votes. Reacting to the poll verdict, Leader of Opposition in theKerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala said even after LDF"misused" official machinery, the UDF candidate won theby-election. He also said even after LDF played the solar scam cardthey could not manage.
CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said theincreased vote share of LDF clearly showed that theprogramme's of the government led by Pinarayi Vijayan has thesupport of people. The victory of UDF is only "technical" and they were notable to maintain the lead they secured last year, he said.
The by-election was necessitated after sitting MLA P KKunhalikutty quit following his election to parliament fromMalappuram Lok Sabha segment that fell vacant after the deathof IUML leader and former union minister E Ahmed in Februarylast.