KOCHI: Ernakulam DCC president and UDF candidate T. J. Vinod, who is also the Kochi Corporation deputy mayor, has scraped through in the by-election held to the Congress bastion of Ernakulam Assembly seat.
He won by a margin of 3,750 votes against LDF Independent candidate Manu Roy in the election which saw a very low voter turnout of 58.69 per cent.
The singular reason for the low voter turnout was the heavy rain in the morning and the resultant severe water-logging in many parts of Kochi city and adjoining areas.
Since the counting started, Mr Vinod had been maintaining a steady lead. In the first round, he had a lead of 710 votes which later rose to 1,500 votes from where he did not look back.
As expected, he garnered more lead from Cheranellore panchayat and Vaduthala which together gave him a lead of some 4,000 votes but he trailed by around 1,000 votes in Elamakkara. However, slender lead in Thevara consolidated his position. The lead of UDF had come down substantially from the last elections because of the lower turnout.
Overall, he got 37,891 votes (42.13 per cent) as against Mr Roy's 34,141 (37.96). NDA's C G Rajagopal could muster only 13,351 votes (14.85 per cent).
In 2016 Assembly elections which witnessed 71.66 per cent polling, Hibi Eden had got a majority of 21,949 votes even as he polled 57,819 votes whereas M. Anil Kumar of the LDF got 35,870 votes and NDA's N. K. Mohandas 14,878.
In the 2019 May Lok Sabha elections which witnessed 72.6 overall polling percentage in this segment, Mr Eden got a 31,178-vote majority while he polled 61,920 votes. LDF's P. Rajeev got 30,742 votes here whereas NDA's Alphons Kannamthanam polled 17,769.
The namesake of Mr Roy, Manu K. M., polled 2,572 votes while 1309 votes went to NOTA.
LDF is considered having over 26,000 political votes in the constituency. Vinod A. P., the namesake of T. J. Vinod, could secure only 206 votes.
The factors that worked against Mr Vinod in the constituency were the Palarivattom flyover issue and the bad state of city roads and the water-logging on the polling day. But finally, he overcame all those threats to win the seat.
The LDF could win the seat only twice - in 1987 and 1998 - when it fielded M. K. Sanu and Sebastian Paul as Independents.