UDF wins Kerala by-election (Lead)

March 21st, 2012 - 12:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 21 (IANS) Kerala’s ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) Wednesday won the Piravom by-election with Anup Jacob defeating his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) rival by more than 12,000 votes.

Anup Jacob, 34, son of former minister T.M. Jacob, won over his father’s old rival M.J. Jacob by 12,070 votes.

He said after the results became clear that he owed the win to his later father, whose death necessitated the by-election. He was the food and civil supplies minister and lone legislator of his Kerala Congress-Jacob, an ally of the Congress-led UDF.

Polling in the Piravom constituency took place on March 17 when a record 85.6 percent of the electorate voted.

Interestingly, T.M. Jacob had won the 2011 April assembly polls with a miniscule margin of just 157 votes.

“I knew my son would win with a margin of more than 10,000 votes and I am so happy. My only wish now is that my son should become a very responsible politician,” said Annie Jacob, Anup Jacob’s mother.

It was also sweet victory for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who had declared before the polls that the verdict would be like a referendum on the performance of his nine-month-old government.

In the 2011 assembly polls, the Congress-led alliance had scraped through with a wafer thin majority. In the 140-member Kerala assembly, 71 seats are currently held by the UDF and 67 by the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF).

With this victory the UDF tally goes up to 72. The LDF is also one legislator less with the resignation of CPI-M’s K. Selvaraj.

A triumphant Excise Minister K. Babu, who had led the Piravom campaign, told reporters that the “UDF worked in unison”.

Anup Jacob, who would be sworn in as a member of the legislature Thursday, would be a minister like his father, Babu said.

CPI-M leader A. Anandan said: “This seat was held by the UDF. Why should there be so much excitement. Moreover, the government used its powers to see that they win the by-election.”

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