BJP bastion sees a keen contest this time around

Election posters at Cherlai, Mattancherry, on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: ThulasiKakkat

After Cherlai, Division 7 of the Kochi Corporation, was represented by the same Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor for 32 years, the area is set to see a change this time around, with three candidates, all contesting for the first time, vying for the seat.

Outgoing BJP councillor Shyamala S. Prabhu has held on to the division since 1988. She would not contest in the upcoming polls since she wanted to make way for a younger candidate, she said. But, the BJP had a strong base in the division and the party’s candidate was likely to retain the seat, she added.

Raghuram Pai, the BJP’s candidate from Cherlai, said that he hoped to reap the benefits of the work Ms. Prabhu had done over three decades. During her terms, basic services such as water supply had improved, and work on roads, community halls, a primary health centre and street lights had been completed, said Ms. Prabhu.

In the outgoing council, the BJP had only two seats – Cherlai and Ernakulam Central.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidates contesting from the area are hoping to break the BJP’s hold over the division this time.

The division had not seen any particular development over the years and had only been going with the flow, said Suresh S. Pai, the UDF candidate from the division. A lot more could be done including facilitating access to basic computer skill training for students in the area, he said.

He conceded that the division traditionally had a support base for the BJP and contesting against Ms. Prabhu’s years of experience meant that rivals did not stand much of a chance earlier. Since Ms. Prabhu was not contesting, others had a good shot at winning the seat, he added.

Janardhana Shenoy, an advocate, said he was contesting from Cherlai as an Independent candidate backed by the LDF. “Light rains lead to intense waterlogging here. There has been no long-term vision for Cherlai, apart from completing some drain work or tiling roads, and slums here have not seen much development. Several houses still rely on public taps,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 9:59:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/bjp-bastion-sees-a-keen-contest-this-time-around/article33163835.ece

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