It is a keenly-contested battle between the two major political coalitions that is on the cards for the North Paravur municipality ever since the civic body elections were declared.

While the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is banking heavily on the development initiatives undertaken during its tenure to retain the rule, the opposition hopes to regain the reins by exposing the anomalies in such projects.

Of the total 29 seats up for grabs, the two coalitions are engaged in a straight battle in as many as 15 wards and support independents where residential associations hold sway.

Though the anti-incumbency factor is posing a serious threat to the poll prospects of the ruling coalition, this is offset by a delay in the Congress' side to settle the rebel issue.

It appears that the LDF, by making a systematic usage of its coalition machinery, has gained a slight advantage ahead of its counterpart.

According to the UDF camp, the CPI (M)-led LDF had thoroughly failed to carry through the development projects that were initiated during the previous UDF-led council.

“The LDF council was a disappointment in terms of infrastructure development and other public amenities, including solid waste management and it is amusing that they focused on the development projects as the main poll plank'' says Valsala Prasannakumar, former municipal chairperson.

In addition, the Congress camp also expect that the controversy regarding the leasing out of the old municipal park to a private party for building a shopping complex will create a major crack in the vote base of the LDF.

However, outgoing municipal chairman N.A.Ali seeks to counter such accusations by highlighting the achievements of his council, including the renovation of the town market, bus stand and the municipal stadium.

“The LDF rule of the municipality has ensured financial stability, which enabled us to take up a number of development works,'' he says.

He also lines up a number of initiatives unique to the municipality launched during the tenure of the council, like the introduction of a mobile hospital and mobile maveli store, housing scheme and health insurance coverage for all its residents.

In addition, the authorities have successfully started a waste treatment plant exclusively for the town, which is engaged in the commercial production of vermi-compost, he says.

Meanwhile, there is a growing feeling among the allies of the UDF that the Congress leadership refused to take on board their concerns during the seat sharing process, leading to a let down in the election campaign works.

In addition, the fielding of a couple of candidates by the Kerala Congress (M) as its official nominees and the presence of a rebel candidate may also prove dear to the front.

BJP nominees

The BJP has placed its nominees in two wards.

Observers are of the view that the presence of certain groups and organisations in certain pockets are capable of tilting the balance in favour of either of the fronts.

According to them, the people of this fast- becoming residential suburb of Kochi appear yet to open up their minds even as they go to the polling booths to vote on Monday.

Of the total 29 seats up for grabs, the two coalitions are engaged in a straight battle in as many as 15 wards.

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