The Congress pulled off a massive win in Kerala's Puthuppally by-election on Friday with United Democratic Front's Chandy Oommen securing a lead of over 37,000 votes. Chandy Oommen got 78,649 votes, as of 1:17 pm, while his rival LDF’s Jaick C. Thomas secured only 41,982 votes, according to the Election Commission of India website.
Reacting to the victory, Chandy Oommen said "Appa (father) won for the 13th time". The initial trend itself suggested a clear victory for the UDF candidate.
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said: "The spectacular victory in the Puthuppally by-elections is a clear message to the Modi and Pinarayi Vijayan governments. Both BJP and the CPM have been cast aside by the people of Puthuppally...No by-election in Kerala has got such a landslide margin. The message is very clear."
The LDF candidate was trailing behind the whole time, unable to go above 30 per cent of polled votes at any time. With only 6.41 per cent votes so far, BJP candidate G. Ligin Lal was nowhere in the scene. This, reportedly, was BJP’s poorest performance so far.
AICC general secretary K. C. Venugopal MP said that extreme sentiment against the Chief Minister's arrogance was reflected in the Puthupally by-election. "The people of Kerala have sent a clear message to the LDF government through this verdict. The election results are encouraging for all the believers in democracy who want the Congress to strengthen. The UDF's confidence has increased. It is also a success of unity in our organisational system," he said.
Venugopal added that KPCC president K Sudhakaran has camped in the constituency and ensured all the party activities. "The UDF also got the votes of CPM supporters in Puthupally. They are so fed up with the Pinarayi regime. The Congress does not want BJP's support to win. Such an allegation is levelled by the CPM to minimise the impact of the defeat. The by-election result is also an endorsement of Oommen Chandy's popularity. The election results also reflected the public sentiment against the politics of the CPM, which hunted Oommen Chandy even after his demise," he said. Venugopal added that Rahul Gandhi expressed happiness on UDF’s victory.
Meanwhile, K. Sudhakaran wrote in Facebook that "Kerala is showing an example of love slaughtering the roots of hatred. "Chandy Oommen is a young man who has all the qualities to follow in the footsteps of his father."
"We guarantee that Chandy Oommen will always be an approachable MLA for any person, working in any political movement. The people unitedly faced the evil of Communism with Congress' politics of goodness," Sudhakaran added.
Oommen Chandy’s most substantial victory margin in Puthuppally materialised in 2011 when he triumphed by a margin of 33,255 votes against Suja Susan George of the CPI(M). However, the current trend suggests that Chandy Oommen can have a winning margin that would even cross his father’s 2011 record.