The ruling CPM-led LDF in Kerala edged out the Congress-led UDF in bypolls to 15 local body wards across nine districts.
The LDF performed marginally better, winning eight out of the 15 seats, leaving seven for the UDF. However, it was the LDF (4) that lost more sitting seats than the UDF (3).
LDF-backed candidates won the bypolls in Pallur ward of Kalanjur Panchayat in Pathanamthitta district, Naluthodu ward in Muttar panchayat in Alappuzha district, Churathodu ward in Vengoor panchayat in Ernakulam district, Parassery West ward in Thalakkad panchayat in Malappuram district, Kallunira ward in Valayam panchayat in Kozhikode district, Veerppad ward in Aralam panchayat in Kannur district, Pathinaramkallu ward in Nedumangad municipality in Thiruvananthapuram district and Pazheri ward in Sulthan Bathery municipality in Wayanad district.
The UDF-backed candidates won in Ilangulam ward in Elikkulam pachayat in Kottayam district, Kozhippilly South ward in Varapetty panchayat, Karakkodu ward in Piravom municipality and North Marady in Marady panchayat in Ernakulam district, Chevayoor ward in Cherukavu panchayat, Mudappilassery ward in Wandoor panchayat and Vazhikadavu ward in Nilambur block panchayat in Malappuram district.
The LDF winner in Muttar panchayat was decided through coin-toss after both candidates got equal number of votes. And with the UDF winning the bypoll in Piravom municipality, it now has equal number of seats as the LDF which rules the local body. The balance of power could potentially shift there in days to come.
In the 2020 local body elections, the LDF had emerged on top, winning a majority of the gram panchayats, municipalities, corporations, block panchayats and district panchayats.