The CPM stronghold of Alathur was wrested by young Congress leader Ramya Haridas with her sweet melodies. She defeated LDF candidate P.K. Biju by a margin of 1,58,968 votes securing 52.39 percent of the votes.
Ramya, 33, who was the block panchayat president in her native place Kunnamangalam, won the segment which Biju had won by 37, 312 votes in 2014. The Youth Congress icon picked up by Rahul Gandhi has considerable leads in all the seven Assembly segments of Alathur constituency.
In the 2016 polls to the state Assembly, the LDF had won in Tarur, Chittur, Nenmara, Alathur, Chelakkara, Kunnamkulam. The UDF won only Wadakkanchery with a margin of 43 votes. “The whole of Alathur has voted for me. I was sure of a victory and I convey my heartfelt thanks to the voters” Ramya said. From day one of the campaign, she had managed to get tremendous media attention for her singing skills and for her girl-next-door image. Deepa Nisanth, assistant professor at Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, who is known for her pro-CPM stand, had sparked a controversy with her Facebook comments mocking Ramya for rendering songs during her campaign. She had also snubbed Ramya for taking a position on Sabarimala by stating that the candidate was ready to wait to become a ‘malikakkudam’ to visit Sabarimala, a statement which was against women’s entry to the hilly shrine. A few days later, LDF convener A. Vijayragavan had allegedly made lewd comments against Ramya over her visiting IUML leader P.K. Kunhalikuttyto seek his blessings. Vijayaragavan refused to issue an apology after his comments triggered condemnation.
Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena had warned Vijayaragavan for his statement. But no action was taken on Ramya’s complaint asking Kerala police to register a case against Vijayaragavan by invoking sections of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and IPC sections for insulting womanhood.
Biju, who had secured 44.41 percent votes in 2014 could only get 36.79 percent this time.
NDA candidate T.V. Babu got only 8.81 percent as against 9.46 percent the front had in 2014.
Dean rides high on anti-incumbency wave
The thumping majority of 1,71,053 votes bagged by Dean Kuriakose of the UDF in Idukki points to a massive Congress wave in the constituency where the voters were angry at the state government for not taking steps to help the flood-hit people.
This is a massive reversal of the 2014 results when Dean Kuriakose was defeated by LDF independent Joice George by a majority of 50, 542 votes. The agitations against Gadgil Kasturirangan reports were at the peak then and the Idukki diocese and the High Range Samrakshana Samithi (HRSS) patronized by the Church had adopted an anti-UDF stand.
The recurring farmers’ suicides, the large-scale destruction of properties and agricultural lands caused by the deluge and the absence of a proper rehabilitation mechanism may have aggravated the ire of the voters.All the seven Assembly constituencies favoured the UDF candidate.
These include the low ranges of idukki, Muvattupuzha, Thodupuzha and Kothamangalam and the high ranges of Udumbunchola, Peermade and Devikulam, all of which recorded a majority for the UDF candidate. In Muvattupuzha Assembly constituency the UDF secured a majority of over 32, 000 votes with Dean getting 78,799 votes and Joice George 46,260.
In the LDF bastion of Udumbunchola and Devikulam Assembly constituencies, the UDF secured a majority of more than 12, 000 and 14,000 votes respectively. In Thodupuzha, Dean secured a majority of more than 37,000 votes, and in Kothamangalam over 20,000. In Peermade Assembly constituency, the UDF got a majority of over 23,000 votes