Even though UDF started recording wins with news about Dominic Presentation of Congress defeating his rival M.C. Josephine of CPI(M) from Kochi constituency, it was Hibi Eden, national president of NSU, who brought in the most impressive win. He had a winning margin of 32,437, which was more than what his nearest rival Sebastian Paul, independent LDF candidate, polled (27,482).
Piravom constituency gave tense moments as lead shifted between present MLA M.J. Jacob of LDF and former minister T.M. Jacob of UDF, till the latter was declared winner with a margin of just 157 votes. In fact, the results of Piravom was the last to be announced in the district, as postal votes were recounted after LDF challenged it.
Benny Behnan of UDF recorded the second largest majority in the district from the newly-formed Thrikkakara constituency. He won 65,854 votes against 59,919 votes won by LDF’s M.E. Hassainar, making the victory margin of 22,406.
Two ministers who contested from the district returned to the Assembly. While S. Sarma won with a margin of 5,242 votes from Vypeen, Jose Thettayil won with a margin of 7,170 votes from Angamali.
K. Babu retained his Tripunithura seat defeating C.M. Dinesh Mani, who was the MLA of former Palluruthy constituency, which was split into Tripunithura and Kochi constituencies. Mr. Babu won with a margin of 15,887 votes.
Joseph Vazhakkan of Congress defeated Babu Paul of CPI by a margin of 5,163 votes from Muvattupuzha, after trailing in the initial rounds of counting. Former minister T.U. Kuruvilla of Kerala Congress (M) recorded a margin of 12,222 votes against LDF independent candidate Skaria Thomas at Kothamangalam.
Indian Union Muslim League candidate V.K. Ebrahim Kunju won with a margin of 7,789 votes, defeating K. Chandran Pillai of CPI(M). Mr. Ebrahim Kunju had moved from former Mattanchery constituency to Kalamassery this time.
Saju Paul of CPI (M) was the last of the three LDF candidates to win from the district, as he defeated Jaison Joseph of Congress with a margin 3,382 votes in Perumbavoor. V.P. Sajeendran of Congress defeated M.A. Surendran of CPI (M) with a margin of 8,732 votes from Kunnathunadu and Anwar Sadath of Congress defeated present MLA A.M. Yousuf in Aluva by an impressive margin of 13,214 votes.
Inadequate facilities in media centre
Media persons covering the voting process had to put up with inadequate facilities. The main counting centre of Maharaja’s College (where ballots from Ernakulam, Kochi and Tripunithura were counted) had very poor facilities at the media room. It had no computer and the sole television set present was not working at all. In a reversal of roles, those present in the media centre had to call up their colleagues at office to check the website to get updates. Situation was much similar in Aluva UC College, where votes from Aluva and Angamali were counted, but anomalies were rectified as counting progressed.
Even as initial lead figures started coming in, activists of the Indian Union Muslim League started celebrating at the Maharaja’s College by distributing green-coloured ice-cream and green-wrapper toffees.
“No untoward incidents were reported from the city limits. Even the minor road blocks caused by victorious party workers, especially around the counting centres, were cleared soon,” said M.R. Ajith Kumar, City Police Commissioner.
The rural district also witnessed peaceful completion of the process. “However, the police will continue to be deployed in their positions till the victory celebrations are over,” said T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural.