Kerala

Curtains down on open poll campaign in Pathanamthitta

The curtain came down on Sunday over the campaigning for a closely fought election to the three-tier local bodies in Pathanamthitta, to be held on December 8.

Though the aggressive blitzkrieg associated with the conclusion of election campaign were missing due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions, the three major coalitions led by the Congress, CPI(M) and the BJP made the final push to woo the voters. With the election rally of these coalitions being held virtually, the roads in most part of the district on Sunday were occupied by the road shows of candidates and announcement vehicles.

While the UDF strives hard to retain its tag of ‘traditional favourite’ in the district, the LDF looks to improve on its previous tally of 25 panchayats and two municipalities. The NDA, which regards Pathanamthitta as one of its high-growth areas, too left no stone unturned to make the contest triangular in several places.

Among the various factors that is expected to influence the final outcome, the most significant is a clash between the splinter groups of the Kerala Congress(M), which are also facing off in two divisions of the District panchayat and several wards across the municipalities and panchayats.

The UDF, which had spent the early phase of campaign to fend off the rebel menace, retained much of its lost ground during the later phases. Veteran faces including Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and P.J. Joseph were among those who led the campaign during different phases.

The LDF, on the other hand, had been charged-up right from the beginning and hit the ground running the moment election date was announced. Unlike the previous elections, no senior figures including the likes of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan or the CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran featured its election campaign on the ground this time.

A resurgent NDA, meanwhile, could use the trend of rising vote shares as witnessed during the previous Parliament election and Assembly by polls to good effect. The coalition could also bring in majority of its senior leadership including the Union Minister V. Muraleedharan, BJP State president K. Surendran and the BDJS president Tushar Vellappally for electioneering.

Meanwhile, the early inroads made by the rebels and independents in certain wards have presented a headache for the major contestants.

The distribution of polling materials for the district will be held at the distribution centres set up in four municipalities and eight blocks on Monday. District Collector P.B. Noohu has also declared December 8 a holiday for the employees of all public and private establishments under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 4:43:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/curtains-down-on-open-poll-campaign-in-pathanamthitta/article33264994.ece

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