Three-cornered contest likely in Thripunithura

Thripunithura municipality, a known Left-bastion having favoured the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in three out of the last four local body elections, is all set for a stiff three-cornered battle with rebels from the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) kicking up a lot of dust.

In the last election, the LDF managed a simple majority in the 49-member council while the UDF not just lost power but ceded the principal opposition position to the BJP.

Five years later, the electoral fray appears as muddled though the LDF claims to be in a more formidable position with little rebel menace and having managed a head start in the declaration of candidates and campaigning.

The CPI(M) has fielded 41 candidates, including Independents, while the CPI has four candidates, the NCP and Jose K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress have one each.

“The BJP will not be the same force as they were in the last election when the Modi wave still swayed a section of voters. Besides, both the Congress and the BJP are facing rebel menace,” said C.N. Sundaran, former municipal chairman and CPI(M) district committee member.

On a sticky wicket

While accusing the CPI(M) and the BJP of having reached a tacit understanding, the UDF leadership remains on a potentially sticky wicket by choosing not to field a candidate against V.R. Vijayakumar, the opposition leader till the last year before he left the BJP camp and is now contesting as an Independent from Ambalam ward.

“Such a move is expected to serve our purpose of defeating both our rivals,” reasoned C. Vinod, president of the Congress Thripunithura Assembly constituency, who was confident of wresting back the power citing how the UDF had dislodged the BJP in their bastion in ward 39 in the bypoll just six months after they lost the last election. The Congress has fielded 46 candidates, including four Independents, while assigning one seat each to Jacob and Joseph factions of the Kerala Congress.

The BJP finds the environment conducive for finally wresting the power by mobilising the Hindu majority electorate in the municipality. “This time, our focus is on 32 wards, including 13 which we won and 17 in which we emerged second last time. Unlike the other two fronts scared to field candidates in their official symbol, we have fielded 47 candidates on our symbol,” said Dileep G. Menon, BJP media cell, Thripunithura. Two seats have been given to Bharatiya Dharma Jana Sena.

The BJP, however, will have to deal with rebels in ten wards by the faction owing allegiance to Mr. Vijayakumar. “Our objective is not just to hurt the BJP but to win all 10 seats,” said Mr. Vijayakumar who alleged that a real estate mafia controlled the party in the municipality with scant regard for the bylaw.

However, neither have the rebels resigned nor the party has expelled them, leaving open the scope for burying the hatchet post-election.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 12:31:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/three-cornered-contest-likely-in-thripunithura/article33172747.ece

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