Shobha Sivadutt trounces R.O. Yamuna of BJP by 913 votes

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has strengthened its position in the city Corporation after registering a thumping win in the by-election in the Attipra ward on Saturday.

CPI(M) candidate Shobha Sivadutt won by a margin of 913 votes defeating Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate R.O. Yamuna who got 825 votes. The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Sreekala was pushed to the third place, with just 770 votes.

Better tally

Though Attipra is considered a Left citadel, the result is a major improvement from last time when it won by a margin of just 197 votes.

The LDF candidate with 1,738 votes cornered 50.1 per cent of the total of 3,469 votes polled. The third place finish is a major embarrassment for the main Opposition, who had conducted an indefinite protest highlighting the ‘inept administration’ of the local body, just before the by-election.

The by-election became necessary after the death of LDF councillor M.S. Sangeetha in November last. Her death brought down the LDF’s tally in the council, close to that of the combined Opposition, consisting of the UDF, BJP, and an Independent. The LDF has 51 seats, the UDF 42, and the BJP six in the 100-member council.

In addition, the Independent councillor has mostly stood with the Opposition on most occasions. Following Sangeetha’s death, the LDF strength was reduced to 50, just one ahead of the combined Opposition’s 49. The party managed to pass council decisions, sometimes even getting the support of BJP councillors.

RSP factor

The result reduces the pressure on the ruling party over the possible exit of two Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) councillors.

Though there were rumours that the RSP councillors — P. Shyamkumar from the Kuravankonam ward and B. Shruthi from the Pettah ward — might leave the coalition following their parent party’s exit from the LDF, they stayed put and supported the LDF.

Sources said there were talks of both of them shifting allegiances and joining the CPI(M), which could strengthen the LDF until the next local body elections.