Thiruvananthapuram: The Left in Kerala on Friday won big in an assembly constituency when the Kerala Congress (M) founded by K M Mani has been in power for a record duration of 54 years.
The Left Democratic Front's (LDF) Mani C Kappen, after losing thrice in the past to Mani, returned this time and won back the Pala constituency by over 2,000 votes from his rival of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the assembly by-election held on Monday, reported NDTV.
Kappan is from Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is an ally of the LDF in Kerala.
Kerla Congress (M)’s K M Mani retained power in Pala 13 times since 1965, which made him the longest serving legislator in Kerala. He died in April this year at 86, which necessitated the Pala assembly bypoll.
This bypoll victory comes as a confidence booster for the LDF after its poor show in the national election held in April and May, when it won only one of the 20 parliamentary seats in the southern state, where the Left has been traditionally strong.
In the national election this year, the Left alliance won only from Alapuzha by some 10,000 votes. It faced embarrassment as its traditional bastions - Alathur, Palakkad, Attingal and Kasaragod - were wrested by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
The embarrassment this time is strong, however, for the UDF, which had to deal with open infighting between factions of the Kerala Congress (M), leading to their Pala candidate Jose Tom Pullikunel contesting as an independent - without the party's symbol. The BJP fielded its Kottayam president, N Hari.
K M Mani had also served as Kerala finance minister in the UDF government. He holds the record of presenting the maximum number of budgets in Kerala assembly at 13.
He was forced to quit as finance minister from the Oommen Chandy-led government in November 2015 after the Kerala High Court's observations against him in a bribery case, casting a shadow over his career.