Thiruvananthapuram

District panchayat bursts into limelight

Election scene in the Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat has traditionally got lesser limelight, compared to the more heated battles in the city Corporation. However, this time, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to field their former district president S. Suresh in one of the divisions for the upcoming local body polls created quite a splash, signalling their serious intentions in a local body where they have just one seat as of now.

Both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and United Democratic Front (UDF) were quick to dismiss this as a stunt aimed at retaining the sole division in their possession. The history of elections in the district panchayat lends some kind of credence to their stand, for the BJP has never really figured seriously in what has always been a direct fight between the LDF and the UDF, with the LDF having more wins to its credit. The LDF currently holds 19 out of the 26 divisions in the local body.

Consistent performance

“We expect to win even the divisions we lost out last time around. Our candidates have all begun their campaign well in advance. Venganoor is the sole division won by the BJP last time. Given their strength, it is doubtful whether they will retain that division, leave alone win more to gain power in the district panchayat. As for the UDF, they won power here in the previous term by just one division. Otherwise, the LDF has been winning consistently here,” says district panchayat president V.K. Madhu.

Ansajitha Russel, Congress member and district panchayat president in the 2010-15 term, says that she as well as the other UDF candidates have been getting positive vibes from the ground during their first round of campaigning in the various divisions.

Tighter contest

“Last time, the BJP managed to win Venganoor because both the LDF and the UDF had given that seat to its allies. This time, the contest will be tighter in that division, and it is unlikely that they will win any other. We are confident of recapturing power in the district panchayat this time,” she says.

Mr. Suresh has been concentrating his campaign in the Venganoor division, spread over 56 wards of around four panchayats, even as the BJP has launched its campaigns in the other divisions to try and upset the prevailing record.

“We are also seeing this as a campaign to create confidence ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections and energise our party machinery.

The candidature of district and State-level leaders will motivate the cadres. It is a huge challenge for us in the district panchayat, but we are confident that the Centre’s developmental projects and the recent controversies that have hit the State government will aid us,” says Mr. Suresh.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 2:03:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/district-panchayat-bursts-into-limelight/article33145818.ece

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