Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday attributed the victory of the Left Democratic Front in the Assembly polls to the residents of the state, reported PTI. He also said that there was no space for communal politics in Kerala.

According to data from the Election Commission, as of 11.40 pm, the Communist Party of India had won 17 seats, Communist Party of India (Marxist) bagged 62 constituencies. The Congress was able to secure 21 seats and the Indian Union Muslim League won in 15 constituencies.

After a round-up of the seats secured till Sunday night, the Left Democratic Front had bagged 99 constituencies and the United Democratic Front had won 41 seats. The majority mark in the 140-seat Kerala Assembly is 71.

The LDF is comprised of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Kerala Congress (M), Janata Dal (Secular), Nationalist Congress Party, Loktantrik Janata Dal, Indian National League, Congress (Secular), Kerala Congress (B), Janadhipathya Kerala Congress and 12 Independent leaders.

The United Democratic Front is made up of the Congress, Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Nationalist Congress Kerala, Kerala Congress (Jacob), Communist Marxist Party, Revolutionary Marxist Party of India and two Independent leaders.

Vijayan, who contested from Dharmadam constituency, won with a total of 95,522 votes against Congress leader C Raghunathan. The state’s Health Minister KK Shailaja, who was widely hailed for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic won with 96,129 votes against Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Illikkal Augusthy.

The LDF’s victory would mean that for the first time since 1983, the incumbent government will come come back to power in Kerala.

On Sunday evening, Vijayan asked supporters to avoid mass gatherings in view of the pandemic and said it was not a time to celebrate, Manorama reported. Thanking those who voted for the Left Democratic Alliance, Vijayan said, “We trust in people, they trust in us”.

He also said that the BJP had made several claims during the campaign. “Senior BJP leaders made announcements even on the formation of the government after the elections,” he told PTI. “They also indicated that they were going to garner several seats in Kerala. The stand taken by the BJP in other states cannot be replicated here.”

The BJP’s vote share in the state elections was 11.3% till Sunday night.

Meanwhile CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury thanked the voters in the state and said that the mandate was a proof of them reposing faith in the “Kerala model” of handling the coronavirus situation.

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Congress state unit chief Ramesh Chennithala won against Communist Party of India leader R Sajilal by 72,768 votes. Senior party leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy won from the Puthuppally constituency with 63,372 votes against CPI(M)’s Jaick C Thomas.

In the Palakkad constituency, “Metro Man” Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, contesting on a BJP ticket, lost to Congress leader Shafi Parambil in Palakkad constituency of Kerala by a margin of 3,859 votes. The BJP is banking on the popularity of Sreedharan to expand its base in the state, where it won its first seat in the last Assembly polls.

Due to the intensifying Covid-19 situation in the country, the Election Commission of India has prohibited the entry of polling agents into the counting centres without a negative Covid-19 test. Entry would also be allowed if the agents were fully vaccinated. The poll panel has also taken other measures to check the spread of the infection.

Although the results have not yet been announced, wishes started pouring in for the LDF government and Vijayan. CPI (M) leader Thomas Isaac said that the NDA was likely to lose its lone sitting seat. “LDF trending to a resounding victory in Kerala,” he tweeted. “As CM Pinarayi Vijayan had predicted LDF will comfortably cross last elections tally closing nearer to 100 in the assembly of 140.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also congratulated his Kerala counterpart based on the early trends. “People of Kerala have reposed faith in you becoz of ur pro-people governance,” he tweeted.

Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar congratulated Vijayan on the “historical” consecutive victory in the state elections. “Together we fought these elections and now together we will fight the battle against Covid!” he tweeted.

Since 1983, voters in Kerala have alternated their mandate between the LDF and the UDF every five years. If Vijayan wins, it would be the first time in four decades the ruling government has retained the state.