Thiruvananthapuram: The results from the local body elections in Kerala have firmly placed the CPI(M)-led LDF in the driving seat with wins in 514 of the 941 gram panchayats, 10 of the 14 district panchayats and 108 of the 152 block panchayats.
The Congress-led UDF came second — 375 gram panchayats, 44 block panchayats and four district panchayats.
The BJP-led NDA has the members to control 23 gram panchayats though it doesn’t have the numbers to hold a single block or district panchayat.
In corporations, the LDF achieved simple majority in Kozhikode, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram and became the single largest party in Kochi. The UDF got a simple majority in Kannur and the single largest party status in Thrissur.
In Both Kochi and Thrissur, both fronts will have to shore up support of rebels or Independents to get mayor and deputy mayor posts.
In municipalities, the UDF has done slightly better, winning control of 45 of the 86 municipalities followed by the LDF getting power in 35 and NDA in two.
The results are certainly a stinging setback to the UDF which was hoping to win big in the local body polls and thereby present a united and strong campaign in 2021 Assembly polls. LDF’s major inroads into UDF vote-banks particularly in Thrissur, Ernakulam and Kottayam districts indicates a popular support base that goes beyond the CPI(M)’s strict cadre votes.
As for the BJP, it has faced setbacks in contests to Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram corporations. At the same time, it has doubled the number of gram panchayats it holds and has added a municipality to its tally.