The “Pala Wall” built in this assembly constituency by veteran Kerala Congress (Mani) leader KM Mani was finally broken on Friday (27 September) by the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF)-backed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Mani C Kappen who won the Pala bypoll by a margin of 2,943 votes.
The assembly bypoll was necessitated by the death of the sitting legislator K.M. Mani, who passed away in April. Mani had represented Pala since 1965 and the constituency will see a new MLA after a gap of over five decades.
During the hectic election campaign, Kappen had often said, “One Mani will replace another Mani.”
Kappen had maintained a lead right from start of counting, which at one point crossed 5,000, only to see the Congress-led UDF candidate Jose Tom Pullikunnel lowering it to below 3,000.
Kappen ended up securing 54,137 votes, Pullikunnel got 51,194, and the BJP saw its votes drop below 20,000 to touch 18,044.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan thanked the electorate of Pala for giving an excellent victory to the Left-backed candidate.
“This result is going to give us a good impetus in our efforts of serving the people here and will help us to serve the people even better,” Vijayan said.
CPI-M State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the media in the state capital that the result is a reward for Kappen who has been with Pala all along.
Surrounded by supporters at his home, Kappen said he was certain of his win and history had been created.
"The trends are as expected and the political slavery of Pala of 52 years has ended. Everyone was wanting a change and I got votes from all parties. This is the pointer for the upcoming five assembly by-elections and this is a vote for the governance of the Chief Minister," said Kappen.
Sitting at the residence of the late Mani, a dejected Pullikunnel said, “The thief is inside our ship”, hinting that he had failed to get votes from the areas he expected.
Of the total 1,79,107 electorate, 1,27,939 cast their vote on Monday to decide the fate of 13 candidates.
(With inputs from IANS)
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