Kerala: Congress mayoral candidate N Venugopal loses to BJP rival by just one vote. Netizens in splits

People queue up to vote during the Kerala local body polls(Source: Indian Express)

In a stinging electoral defeat, the UDF candidate in the Kochi Municipal Corporation’s North Island ward, N Venugopal, seen as the mayoral candidate of the Congress, has lost to his BJP rival by just one vote.

Counting of votes for the Kerala local body elections 2020 is underway. The counting started at 8 am for 21,893 wards in 1,200 local bodies which went to polls in three phases.

The defeat of N Venugopal comes as a major upset for the Congress party as it was looking to nominate a strong leader from its ‘I’ group for the post of mayor. The UDF alliance had been ruling Kochi corporation for the last 10 years.

This time around, Venugopal was contesting from Island North, rather than the neighbouring Island South, from where he posted victories in 2005 and 2010. Venugopal, who also represented the combined ward Island North and Island South in 2000, when the two areas were yet to be constituted as separate divisions, was assured of his win. However, in an ironic turn of events, he lost to the BJP candidate by as narrow a margin as it could get—by just one vote.

Soon after his embarrassing defeat, Venugopal did what Congress has been doing after every poll debacle—cry hoarse and blame the voting machine alias EVMs.

Speaking to the media, Venugopal said, “It was a sure seat. I can’t say what happened. There was no problem with the party. There was a problem with the voting machine. That is why the BJP won the elections. I have not decided to go to court with voting machine issue so far. Will check what happened exactly.”

Netizens in splits after Congress’s mayoral candidate loses by 1 vote

The margin of the electoral defeat had the Twitterverse in splits, with many mocking the Congress party and liberals for the piercing defeat. A raft of memes flooded the social media platform, taking a dig at the Congress party over the narrow loss.

One of the Twitter users hailed that one person that made the difference in the outcome of the election. The user commented, “Salute to that one person who changed his mind and voted for BJP candidate.”

Another Twitter user appropriately suggested the Congress party to blame the EVMs for the defeat.

Local Body polls trends show NDA making inroads in Kerala

Local body polls were held in six phases in Kerala. The southern state recorded a voter turnout of 78.64 per cent in the third and final phase of elections. The early trends indicate that LDF may emerge victorious in the elections. The LDF is leading in Gram Panchayats, Block Panchayats, District Panchayats, and Corporations. UDF is marginally ahead of LDF in Municipality.

The National Democratic Alliance(NDA) has also made inroads in the southern state of Kerala and improved its tally from the 2015 local body polls. The saffron alliance is steadily gaining foothold in the southern Indian state.

Besides winning in Kochi Corporation’s North Island, the BJP candidate in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation also defeated its LDF rival S.Pushpalatha by a margin of 145 votes.

LDF has won in 7 wards, NDA in 3 and UDF in 1 in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. As per trends, NDA is leading in 14 wards, LDF in 21 wards and UDF in 4. The local body election in the southern state is considered a precursor of the Assembly elections due to be held in 2021.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia