As the CPM-led LDF is all set to create history by winning a second term in office, it has also dealt a major upset to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by snatching Nemom seat — the only stronghold of the party in the state.
In a blow to the party, the CPM-led LDF candidate V Sivan Kutty beat BJP candidate and former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan by 5,750 votes.
Among the 140 Assembly seats in Kerala, Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram district witnessed one of the fiercest three-cornered fights between the LDF, UDF and the BJP. The BJP described Nemom as “Gujarat of Kerala” after the saffron party opened its account by winning the seat in 2016.
Though the first rounds of counting gave hope to the BJP candidate, Sivan Kutty gained clear lead towards the last rounds. Reacting to the victory, Sivan Kutty said that it was on expected lines as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also assured the voters of closing BJP’s account in the state.
Nemom, a suburb in the capital city, hogged the limelight after BJP opened its account in the state by winning the seat in the 2016 Assembly elections. The saffron party’s veteran leader O Rajagopal won Nemom by defeating the CPM’s V Sivankutty for a margin of over 8,000 votes.
However, the saffron party replaced Rajagopal with Kummanam Rajasekharan this time. The CPM has repeated V Sivankutty, while Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) fielded sitting MP and senior leader K Muraleedharan after high drama. The Congress high command was keen on fielding a high-profile candidate in Nemom after its rival CPM accused Congress of helping BJP to open its account in the state.
It should be noted that the Congress-led UDF won the Nemom seat by 60,000 votes in 2006 and it was in third place in the 2011 Assembly elections. In 2011, the seat was won by LDF candidate V Sivankutty. In the 2016 Assembly election, the UDF managed to secure only 13,000 votes, registering a significant fall from its earlier tallies.
The constituency also saw a high-voltage campaign by all the political fronts. Many central ministers from the BJP and top leaders of Congress have extensively campaigned for their candidates.