UDF wins key Aruvikkara seat

The Congress and the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala on Tuesday pulled off a thumping win in the crucial Aruvikkara Assembly constituency by-election.

The result re-asserted Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s dominance in his feud-ridden party, and dealt a severe blow to the CPM-led Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF).

K S Sabarinadhan, the 31-year-old son of Aruvikkara ex-MLA and Speaker G Karthikeyan (56,448 votes), defeated seasoned CPM leader and former minister M Vijayakumar (46,320 votes) by 10,128 votes.

BJP veteran O Rajagopal turned in an impressive show, finishing third with 34,145 votes.
In the 2011 Assembly elections, the BJP had secured only 7,694 votes in the constituency, but recorded a four-fold growth in votes this time.

The by-election was announced following Karthikeyan's death. Sabarinadhan’s margin of victory is only 546 short of what his father managed in 2011.Incidentally, Vijayakumar had defeated Karthikeyan from the Thiruvananthapuram North constituency in 1987.

Sabarinadhan told reporters the victory was a reflection of the people’s love for his father and the Congress and the UDF's organisational strength.

He will take oath as an MLA  on Wednesday.

CM makes a mark

The victory ushered yet another young leader into the Congress fold, but analysts said the show belonged to Chandy. The CM, despite being cornered by scams haunting senior ministers, scripted an assured comeback in Aruvikkara.  The result left the CPM with much to introspect. The party’s failure to translate into votes public’s disillusionment with the government will steer post-poll debates within it.

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