Stage set for high-stakes battle in Vyttila Janatha division

Shelbi Antony of the Congress is the UDF candidate in the Vyttila Janatha division, while the CPI(M) has fielded Baiju Thottali.

Shelbi Antony of the Congress is the UDF candidate in the Vyttila Janatha division, while the CPI(M) has fielded Baiju Thottali.  

Campaign enters final phase in Vyttila Janatha; 6,000 voters to exercise franchise

Around 6,000 voters of Vyttila Janatha division of the Kochi Corporation will exercise their franchise on January 14 (Thursday) to elect a new civic representative.

The key electoral fronts—the UDF, which governs the corporation, and the LDF, the Opposition front—have entered the final phase of electioneering. After meeting individual voters, both the fronts began distribution of voting slips on Sunday.

The bypoll was necessitated following the demise of sitting councillor and Congress leader M. Premachandran.

Shelbi Antony, a young Congress worker, is the UDF candidate, whereas the CPI(M) has fielded Baiju Thottali to wrest the seat from the ruling front. In the last election, Premachandran had won the division by a margin of 19 votes. He defeated Mr. Thottali in a closely contested poll.

Speaking about the poll scenario, District Congress Committee president and Deputy Mayor T.J. Vinod expressed hope that the UDF would win with a comfortable margin.

The Vyttila division is regarded as a traditional UDF stronghold. Unlike in the last election, where rebels raised a threat to the official candidate, the UDF camp is free of rebel menace this time. The two rebel candidates who were in the fray then had together bagged over 700 votes which reflected in the winning margin of Premachandran, said Mr. Vinod.

Several squads of party workers and councillors are campaigning for the UDF candidate. One Congress worker each has been put in charge of 50 houses. Dominic Presentation, a former legislator, is leading the UDF campaign, he added.

On its part, the LDF is using the bypoll as an opportunity to highlight what it calls the failure of the civic administration in addressing core issues facing the city.

The irresponsible attitude of the civic administrators towards civic issues and their lethargic approach to the pressing needs of residents were highlighted during the campaign, said V.P. Chandran, LDF leader in the corporation council. The rising mosquito menace too was raised during the campaign, he added.

K.K. Sivan, a former councillor, is the poll manager of the LDF.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 1:19:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/stage-set-for-high-stakes-battle-in-vyttila-janatha-division/article26231517.ece

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