Shattering all expectations and calculations of the left front IUML’s E.T Muhammed Basheer won by a record breaking margin of 1,93,273 votes In Ponnani. Basheer’s stunning hat-trick win with 5,21,824 votes against LDF’s P.V Anvar MLA who got 3,28,551 votes has become a huge blow to the left especially CPM. Basheer who lost the victory margin in a big way in 2014 bagged an amazing lead nearly two lakh votes this time. The LDF fielded Anwar hoping to wrest the lok sabha seat where the past elections had shown a steady growth in their vote share. But the allegations against Anvar and his image issues turned in favour of Basheer.
The vote difference between the LDF and UDF had come down to 25,000 votes in 2014 election and to mere 1,071 votes by the 2016 assembly elections.
However beyond expectations the UDF bridged this gap overpowering the rival remarkably in three assembly segments Ponnani, Tanur and Thavanur which stood with LDF in the last assembly elections. In Tanur constituency Basheer got a majority of 32,166 votes against the LDF’s 2016 victory margin on 4,918 votes. The Thrithala assembly seat which usually favours LDF in lok sabha elections stood with UDF this time with a lead of more than 8,404 votes. The BJP has for the first time crossed one lakh vote mark. Its candidate V.T Rema bagged 1,10,603 votes.
The fringe SDPI’s K.C Nazeer came fourth with 18,124 votes. Of the total polled 10,17,306 votes 6,231 were gone to NOTA which came sixth. Behind NOTA is another fringe party PDP with 6,122 votes.
Surprise win for Sreekandan
If the election results took a winning candidate by surprise, it could be Palakkad DCC president and UDF candidate in the constituency V.K. Sreekandan, who gave a shocker to two-time CPM MP and LDF star candidate M.B. Rajesh. For Mr Sreekandan had openly complained about the inefficient campaign his party had conducted in the left stronghold. Mr Rajesh who had won the segment by defeating SJD candidate M.P. Veerendrakumar in 2014 by a margin of 1,05,300 votes had to concede defeat as Mr Sreekandan came first in assembly segments with considerable minority votes with a telling margin: in Mannarkad and Pattambi, the UDF got a whopping lead of nearly 30,000 and more than 18,000 votes, respectively, leading to Mr Sreekandan’s win.
Mr Rajesh, however, came first in Shornur, Ottapalam, Kongad and Malampuzha assembly segments. The BJP which had won 1.38 lakh votes in 2014 LS polls improved its position with NDA candidate C. Krishnakumar gathering 2.18 lakhs. However, the BJP which came second in two assembly constituencies-Palakkad and Malampuzha-in 2016 assembly polls fell to third position this time around. The alleged factionalism in the CPM fuelled by the suspension of party’s Shornur MLA P.K. Sasi for the alleged misbehavior with a woman leader of DYFI is said to have gone against Mr Rajesh.
The party failed to keep the tally in assembly segments of Shornur, Ottapalam and Kongad where it had won with notable margins in 2016 assembly polls. A case in point is Kongad where the party’s lead of 13,271 votes in the last assembly elections fell to just 345 votes. It is learnt that Mr Sasi has strong influence on all the three segments known as party bastions. Though Mr Rajesh came first in Malampuzha, his margin was down by about 6000 votes compared with the 2016 assembly elections.