Thiruvananthapuram: Ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala on Saturday suffered a setback in the civic elections, billed as the semifinal ahead of next year's assembly polls, as CPI-M -led LDF won a majority of local bodies while BJP made inroads improving its performance.
According to the results of the two-phased polls to the three-tier civic bodies held on November 2 and 5, LDF took control of four of the six city corporations, as many as 45 of the 86 municipalities and was way ahead in grama panchayats bagging 545 of the 941 at stake.
With UDF winning only two corporations, 40 municipalities and 366 grama panchayats, the Left front and BJP were quick to demand the resignation of Chief Minister Ommen Chandy, who led the ruling front's campaign.
BJP, which has so far failed to taste success in assembly and Parliament elections in the state, won one municipality and 14 grama panchayats, but made significant inroads in several places especially Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Palakkad, posing stiff threat to both UDF and LDF.
BJP President Amit Shah's 'political agenda' in Kerala to have cooperation with Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, an outfit of backward Ezhava community led by its general secretary Vellappaly Natesan seems to have paid off.
Dealing a major blow to both UDF and LDF in the prestigious 100-member Thiruvananthauram Corporation, BJP wrested 34 wards, pushing UDF to third spot with 21 seats. LDF, which held the Corporation for the last two decades, won 42 wards, short of a simple majority.
BJP's improvememnt is significant as it had won only six wards in the last polls.
LDF retained Kollam and Kozhikode corporations and emerged the single largest party in Thiruvanthapuram and Thrissur, a Congress bastion, while UDF held on to Kochi and took control of the newly formed Kannur corporation, as per results declared by the State Election Commission.
In the 14 district panchayats, LDF and UDF shared seven each while in the block level LDF was leading in 89 panchayats and UDF in 62 with others one.
The outcome of the civic poll assumes significance as the ruling front was hoping to perform well overcoming the mounting attack of political rivals over the bar bribery case in which an FIR has been filed against State Finance Minister K M Mani.