Kerala

Clear picture emerges in Kottayam district panchayat

With the deadline to withdraw nominations expiring, a clear picture had emerged on what is expected to be a bitter but a largely two-corned fight to the Kottayam district panchayat.

As per estimates, 89 persons including 39 women are contesting to the local body across the 22 divisions. With seven candidates each, Velllur, Kaduthuruthy and Poonjar divisions have the highest number of candidates.

While the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) are the two leading coalitions in the fray, the battle to the district panchayat is more regarded as a stage for the direct fight between Mani and Joseph groups of the Kerala Congress (M). Of the 22 divisions, the two factions are contesting in nine seats each and have squared up to each other in as many as five divisions.

In fact, it was a dispute over the sharing of the president’s post in the district panchayat that triggered a vertical split of the Kerala Congress (M) and subsequent decision of the Jose K. Mani faction to join the LDF. While both groups could garner a fair number of seats regardless of the intense wrangling involved, the outcome of the election will have a considerable impact on their positions within the respective coalitions.

On the positive side for the coalitions, they have managed to quell almost all rebellions over the candidature. The UDF, however, has a couple of rebel candidates in Athirampuzha with Moly Louis and Thressyamma George contesting as independents.

In yet another interesting turn, Congress worker Laisamma George has quit the party to contest as LDF candidate in Vakathanam division under a CPI ticket. The LDF, as a whole, is betting big on the Kerala Congress votes by allotting nine seats to the Jose K. Mani faction.

The BJP, which has shared seats with the BDJS, has put up candidates in all divisions and expects a major improvement in its vote share and hopes to put up a tough battle in a handful of divisions this time.

Meanwhile, the entry of Shone George, the heir apparent of the Kerala Janapaksham leader P.C. George MLA, has made the contest in Poonjar division an interesting battle to watch out for. The party has fielded candidates in three more divisions namely Bhrananganam, Mundakkayam and Erumeli, which either fall or lie adjacent to the Poonjar Assembly constituency.

The Kerala Congress led by P.C. Thomas too has fielded candidates in Kaduthuruthi and Poonjar divisions without aligning to any political fronts. This apart, BSP, AAP and some independents are also contesting to district panchayat from various divisions.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 9:54:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/clear-picture-emerges-in-kottayam-district-panchayat/article33162982.ece

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