In a boost to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala on Wednesday retained the Piravom assembly seat with its candidate Anoop Jacob winning by a margin of 12,070 votes.
While Anoop Jacob (Kerala Congress-Jacob), a constituent of the UDF, garnered 82,756 votes, Left Democratic Front's S M J Jacob got 70,686 votes. Bharatiya Janata Party's K R Rajagopal polled 3241 votes.
There were nine candidates in the fray in the March 17 by-poll, whose outcome has given a boost to Chandy, who is running the government with a wafer thin margin.
Both the UDF and the Communist Party of India Marxist-led LDF had launched a stiff fight in the constituency, represented by Anoop's father and former minister T M Jacob. His death necessitated the by-poll.
A record polling of 86.3 per cent was registered in the constituency this time.
The battle was crucial for both the fronts as UDF's strength had been reduced to 71 in the 140 member assembly with the death of T M Jacob, while the LDF's strength had come down to 67 with the recent resignation of Neyyatinkara Selvaraj of CPIM from the assembly that led to his expulsion from the party later.
The UDF camp is upbeat as the victory was by a margin of over 12,000 votes. T M Jacob had won by a slender margin of 157 votes in the 2011 assembly polls.
The UDF had accepted the challenge of the LDF that the poll outcome would be a referendum on the nine-month-old Oommen Chandy led government's performance.