Kerala

Alappuzha has no clear favourites

Alappuzha municipality has refused to be branded as the bastion of any political front.

In the past two-and-a-half decades the people of Alappuzha voted Left Democratic Front (LDF) to power thrice (1995, 2005 and 2010) and United Democratic Front (UDF) twice (2000 and 2015).

This pattern or the lack of it makes the 2020 elections to the municipality so unpredictable.

The UDF is hoping to retain power banking on the ‘good works’ of the last five years, while the LDF highlights a ‘lack of performance’ to wrest the municipality. The BJP, which had won four seats in 2015, is expecting to extend its footprint and thus make it a three-cornered contest.

In the previous election, the Congress-led UDF romped to victory by winning 26 of the total 52 seats in the civic body.

“The UDF is confident of repeating 2015. We are seeking votes for continuity of various development projects and schemes. The Alappuzha municipality has seen development in all spheres in the last five years. Around 5,000 homeless people were provided financial assistance for building houses. A total of 105 canals and waterbodies were rejuvenated. The Alappuzha municipality was named as the best small city in ‘Innovation and Best Practices’ in the country in Swachh Survekshan 2020. A sum of ₹100 crore was spent on roads and bridges in 52 wards of the municipality. The list of development initiatives goes on and on. We hope the people will once again elect the UDF to power,” says Illikkal Kunjumon, chairman, Alappuzha municipality, who is contesting from Vattayal ward.

Mr. Kunjumon became the chairman last year after Thomas Joseph stepped down as per an agreement within the Congress party for sharing the post. Mr. Joseph is also in the fray, this time from Kottamkulangara ward. Although the UDF is upbeat about their prospects, the presence of rebels in at least four wards could spell serious trouble to the front in its efforts to retain power.

LDF move

The LDF, on the other hand, is going all out to wrest the civic body. The last election saw the LDF’s tally in the municipality down to 19.

“The UDF’s rule was marred by factional feud and corruption. They failed to intervene or find solutions to issues facing the people. The various development initiatives we saw in Alappuzha in recent years were the results of interventions made by the Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran. The UDF has failed to deliver. This will be reflected in the upcoming elections,” says, D. Lekshmanan, LDF's leader in the municipality, who is not contesting this election.The performance of the BJP, smaller parties and independents might also play an important role in deciding the elections. Whoever wins, the post of chairperson of the municipality is reserved for a woman.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 6:23:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/alappuzha-has-no-clear-favourites/article33207324.ece

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