The fact that Twenty20 candidates won 14% vote share in eight constituencies in Ernakulam where they were in the fray was a confidence booster and a bigger win than any candidate making it to the Legislative Assembly, said Sabu Jacob, entrepreneur and chairman of the outfit, a day after the poll results were announced.
The candidates came third in six of the eight constituencies (except in Thrikkakara and Ernakulam where they were in fourth position), leaving National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidates trailing in the fourth position. Even more noteworthy was the fact that the eight candidates together bagged 1.46 lakh votes, in comparison to 90,000 votes (8% vote share) of the NDA candidates put together, in those seats, said Mr. Jacob. Candidates of the United Democratic Front (UDF) garnered 4.12 lakh votes, while those of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) got 4.10 lakh votes. “Our candidates got a 14% vote share, despite them being pitted against three major political fronts which have pan-India presence and comprise around 20 big and small political parties. The rivals had a whole lot of leaders to campaign for them from the Prime Minister and Chief Minister to Ministers and the Gandhis,” he told The Hindu.
Mr. Jacob said the party had entered the electoral fray during the 2015 local body polls, fielding candidates in Kizhakkambalam panchayat and going on to rule the panchayat with an overwhelming majority. The 2020 local body polls saw it extend its influence by ruling four panchayats and winning seats in yet another one.
He said the party had its eyes fixed on the 2026 Assembly polls. “We changed track and decided to field candidates in Ernakulam district, following violent incidents and alleged attempts to intimidate voters in some areas and booths during the 2020 local body elections. Less than a month to go before the Assembly poll date, it was decided to contest in eight seats in Ernakulam. It took over a week to select candidates — all newcomers to politics, but who were professionals from different fields, and filing of nominations. This left us with just a fortnight for the poll campaign, in addition to little ground-level presence in most of the constituencies. Our candidate would have won in Kunnathunad by a sound margin but for our attention being divided among the eight constituencies,” said Mr. Jacob.
“The vote share in our debut Assembly poll has equipped us with organisational experience to field candidates in all the 140 seats. An intra-party meeting should take a call on contesting the Lok Sabha poll that is three years away,” he added.
On the party not winning any seats, chairman of Twenty20 advisory committee Kochouseph Chittilappilly said that voters probably thought that the party’s candidates would not be as effective as those of the two major fronts that took turns in ruling the State. “They probably wanted a safe bet. All the infrastructure developments and welfare measures in Kizhakkambalam panchayat did not reflect in the poll, as we desired. But it is heartening that we won much more votes than NDA candidates,” he said, adding that alliances with like-minded political formations was not under consideration.