Lok Sabha Elections: Triumph for Kerala Congress as UDF wins Kottayam seat

UDF’s Francis George garners 43.6% of the total votes and LDF candidate Thomas Chazhikadan receives only 33.17% of the votes. Though NDA candidate Thushar Vellappally finishes in the third spot, he manages to raise the front’s vote share from 16.95% in 2019 to 19.74%

Updated - June 04, 2024 08:13 pm IST

Published - June 04, 2024 08:12 pm IST - KOTTAYAM

UDF workers led by Chandy Oommen MLA giving a rousing reception to K. Francis George, who has won the Kottayam seat.

UDF workers led by Chandy Oommen MLA giving a rousing reception to K. Francis George, who has won the Kottayam seat. | Photo Credit: VISHNU PRATHAP

Riding on the massive United Democratic Front (UDF) wave that swept across the State, the Kerala Congress, led by P.J. Joseph, won its high-stakes battle with the rival faction as its candidate K. Francis George secured the Kottayam constituency by an impressive margin of 87,266 votes.

Mr. George garnered 43.6% (3,64,631) of the total votes, while his rival from the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the incumbent MP Thomas Chazhikadan received only 33.17% (2,77,365) votes. During his winning streak, Mr. George established a clear lead in six Assembly segments, except Vaikom, and even came close to the margin of 1.06 lakh votes set by Mr. Chazhikadan in 2019.

A relief

As the LDF camp struggles to come to terms with the defeat, the front’s leaders believe that the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) performance coupled with the anti-incumbency sentiment against the State government might have caused the damage. However, maintaining a vote share close to 35% has come as a relief to the coalition.

Though the NDA candidate Thushar Vellappally finished in the third spot, he managed to raise the front’s vote share from 16.95% in 2019 to 19.74%, garnering 1.65 lakh votes. Interestingly, NOTA stood at the fourth position with 11,933 (1.43%) votes.

From the beginning, Mr. George maintained a lead and steadily increased it as the counting progressed. As the margin crossed 25,000, jubilant UDF workers began celebrations by 12 noon. Mr. George, who stayed at home during the initial hours of counting, later came out to greet the party workers. In the afternoon, he arrived at the Kerala Congress office to a rousing reception from the party workers.

Serves as a boost

Mr. George’s victory also serves as a boost for the Joseph faction, which fielded its candidate amidst strong resentment within the Congress. It is expected to significantly push the regional party’s bid to earn recognition from the Election Commission of India, obtain a distinct political symbol, and enhance its clout within the UDF.

Speaking to the media, Mr. George dedicated his emphatic victory to the growing sentiment against the State government and the general desire for change at the national level. “This is the result of a collective effort put up by the UDF. The people here have been with us right from the beginning,” he said.

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