Congress candidate KS Sabarinadhan on Tuesday notched up an emphatic win in the Aruvikkara by-election in Kerala, defeating CPI-M’s M Vijayakumar, a former minister, by more than 10,000 votes.
Though BJP's O Rajagopal improved the party's vote share, he was pushed to the third spot in a triangular contest.
The by-election was necessitated by the death of former Speaker G Karthikeyan. To cash in on a sympathy wave, Congress fielded his son Sabarinadhan, a former official of Tata Trust.
With just 10 months to go for assembly polls in Kerala, the win is a big boost for the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government.
Even before the poll date was announced, chief minister Oommen Chandy had made it clear it was a referendum on his government. The UDF’s image was severely dented in the recent past by the bar bribery case and the solar scam.
This was the 40th by-election after the state’s formation and the third during the tenure of the UDF government. The UDF alliance won handsomely in all the three by-elections.
For the opposition CPI-M, this is a huge setback. This was the first election after Kodiyeri Balakrishnan took over as the new state secretary.
This also the first polls under the direct supervision of Pinarayi Vijayan, tipped to be the CPI-M’s chief ministerial candidate in the 2016 assembly elections. The CPI-M has not won a single major election after the Thiruvambadi by-poll in 2006.