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If political watchers in Kerala were looking for an upset in Vengara, it hasn’t happened. KNA Khader, the IUML candidate, won the Vengara bypoll by 23,310 votes defeating CPM candidate PP Basheer, who finished second. For the fifth consecutive time, the party has emerged victorious in Vengara — the assembly constituency formed after delimitation in 2008.
Considered the fortress of the IUML, Vengara went into a bypoll after sitting MLA PK Kunjalikutty vacated the seat to get elected to Lok Sabha. “No candidate in any bye-election in Kerala may have gotten such a big majority. This is a great win for us. This victory in Vengara is a sign that nobody can ever defeat the Muslim League and Congress,” Kunjalikutty, IUML national general secretary told reporters.
As The Indian Express reported last week, the victory for the IUML in Vengara was a foregone conclusion owing to the party’s organisational strength and it’s iron grip on the Muslim voters. What was left to be seen in this election was not who will win, but by how much. Read the story on ieMalayalam here.
The ruling CPM will take heart in the fact that the lead for the IUML in Vengara has been slashed from over 38,000 votes in the 2016 Assembly election to the 23,000 votes it has got now. “UDF may be winning technically but they are failing politically. Their lead in every panchayat has crashed compared to last Assembly election,” Kodiyeri Balakrishnan of the CPM told reporters as counting entered the final phase.
The election result is disappointing for the BJP too. Its candidate K Janachandran Master got 5,728 votes, much less than the over 7,000 votes it got in 2016. The SDPI, political arm of the Popular Front, has increased its vote share, possibly by eating into the IUML vote bank. Its candidate came third, bagging 8,648 votes.