Kottayam: LDF candidate Mani C Kappan has scripted history when he defeated UDF candidate Jose Tom Pulikkunnel by a margin of 2,943 votes to win the Pala assembly byelection in his fourth attempt.
Kappan secured 54,137 votes while Jose Tom collected 51,194 votes. NDA candidate and BJP's Kottayam district president N Hari secured just 18,044.
Kappan maintained a steady lead from the early stages of counting on Friday.
Kappan led in Pala municipality and nine gram panchayats viz. Bharananganam, Kadanad, Karoor, Melukavu, Moonnilavu, Ramapuram, Thalanad, Thalappalam and Elikkulam. UDF gained in upper-hand in Kozhuvanal, Meenachil and Mutholy gram panchayats.
BJP's lost more than 6,000 votes this time. The party, which collected 24,821 votes in 2016, could get only 18,044 votes.
Reacting to his defeat, Jose Tom said BJP 'sold' its votes to LDF candidate. “It resulted in my defeat,” he told reporters in Pala.
BJP candidate N Hari said the party will examine the party's poor showing.
The bypoll, which was necessitated by the death of former finance minister and Kerala Congress (M) supremo K M Mani, who had held the constituency for more than five decades, was held on September 23.
Kappan's victory will give much-needed relief to the ruling LDF as it prepares for the bylections to five assembly constituencies - Vattiyoorkavu, Konni, Majeswaram, Ernakulam, Aroor – on October 21.