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Saturday, Sep 17, 2005
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CHAVAKKAD: The LDF is keen to regain control of the Chavakkad Municipality which narrowly slipped into the hands of the UDF in the last elections with the support of a lone BJP councillor.
In the outgoing council, the LDF had the support of 13 councillors including 11 from the CPI(M) and two from the CPI. The UDF too had 13 councillors with the Congress holding eight seats (including a party rebel), four from the IUML and one from the KC (M). It was the critical support provided by the BJP councillor that enabled the UDF to gain majority in the 27-member council in which the LDF had an upper hand in the previous elections.
The municipal administration at Chavakkad thus became the focal point of several controversies with the LDF trying to project it as an example of the much-derided Congress-IUML-BJP tie-up prevailing in many parts of the State.
There are allegations that the tie-up is continuing in this elections also. In fact, one of the prominent Congress leaders in the area Firoz P. Thaipparambil had been ousted from the party for the controversial remarks reportedly made by him defending the Congress-IUML-BJP tie-up in this elections.
However, the UDF has reportedly fielded no candidates in two wards 17 and 20 where the BJP-supported independents are engaged in direct contests with the LDF nominees. In the 17th ward the BJP has sponsored an independent candidate A. S. Anilkumar and his lone opponent in the ward is K. P. Valsan of the CPI(M). In ward number 20 the CPI nominee Arul Prabha Bhaskar is engaged in a direct contest with Shaila Raveendran fielded by the BJP.
The UDF leaders are facing considerable embarrassment here as they are not able to convincingly deny an electoral tie-up with the BJP or to own it up publicly. As per the revised ward division, the strength of the councillors in Chavakkad municipality has gone up from 27 to 29. The BJP has fielded candidates in only seven wards and only one of them is contesting on the party symbol and the remaining six have been allocated the symbol of independents.
In the UDF the Congress has been allocated 18 seats, seven seats for the IUML, and one each for the KC(M) and the CMP.
In the LDF the CPI(M) is contesting in 18 seats and the CPI in five seats. The Democratic Indira Congress(Karunakaran) has been allocated six seats. DIC(K) has a significant support base in Chavakkad and the LDF is hopeful of achieving a decisive victory with their support in the coming elections. Apart from the political issues like Congress-League-BJP tie-up the LDF is focussing on the alleged developmental stagnation that Chavakkad is facing under the UDF regime.
The UDF leaders on the other side argue that they were able to bail out the municipality from the debt trap it had been pushed into during the previous LDF regime. They also cite several developmental initiatives launched by them during their tenure.
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