THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 30 NOVEMBER, 2018
Sabarimala Frenzy Fails BJP, Left Wins Local By-Polls
BJP low third in by-elections
NEW DELHI: The Sabarimala fury whipped up by the Bharatiya Janata party does not seem to have worked in its favour in Kerala, at least electorally.
The CPI-M led Left Democratic Front has won 21 of the 29 by-elections to local body seats that had fallen vacant in Kerala.
Second in place is the Congress led United Democratic Front that won 12 seats. The BJP despite the loud proclamations by its leadership remained on the distant horizon, with just two seats.
The elections covered 27 panchayat wards, five block panchayat words, six municipality wards and one corporation ward. These were representative as the polls covered the 14 districts in Kerala. Significantly the BJP was not able to win from the Pathanamthitta muncipality (the Sabarimala temple is in this district) with the Congress party that held the seat earlier, also losing to a rebel candidate. The UDF thus won 12 instead of the 13 seats it had held earlier.
The BJP cannot be happy with the results, with the electorate clearly not convinced or moved by the Sabarimala protests it has organised in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling allowing the entry of women in the temple. As senior CPI-M leaders had said earlier, the Kerala voter differentiates between faith and politics and while there has been widespread reaction to the court decision, clearly this has not impacted on the exercise of the ballot in the local polls.