Biju Govind

Highlight local as well as State issues

  • Host of State and national leaders visit Thiruvambadi
  • Focus on family get-togethers

    tHiruvambadi: The hilly terrains of the Thiruvambadi Assembly constituency are witnessing an electioneering of a different hue quite different from the previous Assembly or Lok Sabha polls in the State.

    Campaigning of both the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) hinges not only on local issues but also on the governance of the State during the past six months.

    The crucial bypoll seems not just a fight between the main contenders George M. Thomas of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and V.M. Ummer of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). But that of a straight fight between these parties themselves.

    The CPI(M) wants to retain the seat fallen vacant following the demise of its MLA Mathai Chacko, while the IUML is desperate to regain the glory it had been enjoying in this traditional UDF stronghold since 1987.

    LDF campaign

    The Assembly segment has already become a beehive of politicking with a battery of State and national leaders from mainstream political parties swarming to these dusty regions to campaign for their candidates.

    The byelection, slated on December 4, has almost brought the entire Cabinet of the LDF Government, especially all those belonging to the CPI(M), to the constituency.

    Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will attend panchayat-level rallies at Pulluvampara, Thamarassery and Kodencherry on November 30 and Kooderanji, Karassery and Kodiyattur on December 1.

    CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan will take part in rallies at Puthuppadi and Thiruvambadi on November 29 and Kattippara and Omassery on November 29.

    As expected, the Left parties are way ahead in campaign activities, including door-to-door canvassing and family get-togethers.

    Mr. Thomas is quite confident of romping home with the support he gets from a large posse of cadres working at the grassroots.

    Specific schedules have been drawn for the Ministers Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, P.K. Gurudasan, Mathew T. Thomas, Benoy Viswom, Elamaram Karim, M.A. Baby, T.M. Thomas Isaac, P.K. Sreemathy, A.K. Balan and Paloli Mohammed Kutty.

    A few of them have been camping in the constituency even before the CPI(M) candidate filed his nomination. Ministers have so far participated in over 50 family get-togethers.

    The amount of hard work the CPI(M) leaders are doing reveals that they are determined to keep the votes Mathai Chacko mustered intact or even attempt to increase his vote percentange in all the nine grama panchayts of the constituency. All the 153 booth committees function like a well-oiled machinery.

    UDF campaigners

    On the other hand, the UDF has roped in three Union Ministers.

    Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony will fly down on December 1, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi on November 25, and Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed on November 24 to campaign. Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala are also camping in the district.

    Taking a cue from its chief rival, the UDF also is mobilising its sympathisers for family get-togethers in all 153 booths.

    "Our target is to organise 1,500 family get-togethers. We will not repeat the mistakes of the previous Assembly election.

    The party will capture this traditional UDF seat," said IUML leader P.K.K. Bava.

    The UDF's main election plank is to cash in on the anti-Government feelings, particularly focussing on the agrarian crisis and misrule of the LDF Government during the past six months.