In a closely contested battle between the ruling LDF and UDF candidates in Puthuppally, Chandy Oommen, the Congress candidate and son of former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy, is comfortably leading with a substantial margin of 39,800 votes. This by-election was necessitated by the vacancy left after the unfortunate demise of Congressman Oommen Chandy on September 5. The outcome holds significant political implications as it precedes the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, making it a crucial battleground for both LDF and UDF factions.
Achu Oommen, the candidate’s sister, expressed her thoughts, stating, “This result is an answer to the witchhunt we had to endure all these years.”
The counting of votes in the Puthuppally constituency’s by-election commenced on Friday morning amidst a fierce competition between the LDF and UDF. The counting, scheduled to begin at 8 AM, faced a slight delay at the special station set up in a nearby college. Initially, the postal and service ballots were collected for counting. In a few hours, an initial trend is expected to emerge, according to Election Commission sources.
On Tuesday, a noteworthy 72.86 percent of the total registered 1,76,412 voters exercised their franchise, as reported by the Chief Electoral Officer. While this participation is commendable, it represents a slightly lower turnout compared to the state assembly elections in 2021, which witnessed approximately 74 percent voter participation.
This by-election, held just months ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, holds immense political significance. The Congress is determined to retain its long-standing stronghold in the region, while the ruling CPI (M) aims to expand its influence by securing a victory.
Oommen Chandy had held this seat continuously for five decades until his unfortunate demise on July 18. This marks the first election in the absence of Oommen Chandy’s candidacy since the 1970s.
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