Kerala bypoll: At halfway mark, CPI-M eyes comfortable win (Third Lead)

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Chengannur (Kerala) May 31 (IANS) CPI-M candidate Saji Cherian, with a lead of around 12,000 votes as counting crossd the halfway mark in the Chengannur Assembly bypoll in Kerala, was heading towards a comfortable victory on Thursday.

In the 2016 assembly polls the Communist Party of India-Marxist candidate, K.K. Ramachandran Nair, had an overall lead of 7,893 votes.

He had defeated sitting two-time Congress legislator P.C. Vishnunath, while BJP candidate P.S.Sreedharan Pillai, had come a close third with 2,305 votes.

Celebrations have already begun at the CPI-M candidate’s residence with sweets being distributed. His wife came out and thanked the electorate.

Cherian said that it’s a reward for his four-decade of active public life. “My party has been the source of my strength and this is a really good victory. It is a stamp of approval for the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government,” said Cherian.

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Cherian was able to get a firm hold in more than 95 per cent of the booths where vote counting was underway.

Cherian is leading with 77 votes from the booth from where former Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s father hails. The Congress said it had not expected this outcome.

Congress candidate D. Vijayakumar is in the second position followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Pillai, who has been fielded again.

“I had told soon after the elections that the Left has purchased votes, and all that can be seen now,” said Pillai.

Voting for the seat took place on Monday.

–IANS

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