Thiruvananthapuram: Chandy Oommen, the Congress candidate at the Puthuppally Assembly constituency, on Friday won his debut election with a record breaking majority of 37,719 votes.
While the Congress called it a crushing blow on the “arrogant and corrupt” governance of Pinarayi Vijayan, the CPI(M) dubbed it a sympathy wave.
The election became necessary after the passing away of sitting Congress legislator- Oommen Chandy, a two-time former Chief Minister who represented the constituency from 1970 for a record-breaking 53 years.
By winning with a margin of 37,719 votes he breached the highest victory margin which his father Oommen Chandy got in 2011.
Oommen Chandy got a margin of 33,255 in 2011, the highest in his 12 outings from 1970.
While Chandy Oommen secured 80,144 voters, the CPI(M) candidate Jaick C.Thomas got 42,425 and the BJP candidate Lijin Lal finished with a mere 6,558 votes.
With Friday’s third failure in succession, Thomas has become the first candidate to lose against a father and son.
Chandy Oommen attributed his win to his father calling it his 13th victory.
“I would like to thank all the people of Puthuppally who have given me this and from now on, I will be responsible for the welfare of every individual in my constituency,” said Chandy Oommen.
“I fully agree that it’s going to be a huge challenge as my father nurtured this constituency for the past 53 years and I assure you all that I will strive to do my best,” said Chandy Oommen.
CPI(M) state secretary M.V.Govindan said there was a sympathy wave in the constituency and not an anti-incumbency factor.
“Even though we lost, the important thing is our voter base is intact. By Chandy Oommen’s admission that this is the 13th victory of Oommen Chandy, it clearly shows that the sympathy factor raged and it was not against the governance. However, the CPI(M) will introspect on the result,” said Govindan.
State Congress president K.Sudhakaran said, “This is a vote against Vijayan’s arrogance, widespread corruption and bad governance. We were sure that we would win handsomely,” said Sudhakaran.
“There was definitely a sympathy factor for our late leader Oommen Chandy but the vote is also against the Vijayan’s bad governance,” said Sudhakaran.
Another feature of the massive win is that while Chandy Oommen led in 181 of the 182 polling booths, in 2021 polls Thomas led in 54 polling booths.
Meanwhile, Shafi Parambil, three-time Congress legislator and State Youth Congress president who was a live wire in the campaign said that after losing, the CPI(M) has now turned its ire towards the people by resorting to violence at Manarcadu- the hometown of Thomas.
“Few people have been injured and they came under duress of the CPI(M) cadres because they voted for the Congress,” said Parambil.
Chandy Oommen will be sworn-in on Monday, when the Assembly session resumes after it was suspended soon after the Election Commission announced the by-election.