Exciting tussle on cards in Neyyattinkara

The 107-year-old Neyyattinkara municipality is set to witness an exciting tussle between the two main fronts, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks to score an upset win in the upcoming local body elections.

Neyyattinkara has long been a bastion of the Left Democratic Front (LDF). Since 1979, only once, in 2010, has the United Democratic Front (UDF) upset the apple cart.

In 2015, the LDF emerged victorious only in half the 44 wards but managed to save face and come to power with Independent support. A rebel-plagued Congress held on to 12 seats, while the BJP, which last won a seat here in 2000, not only scooped up five wards, but finished a close second in 14.

This time, the LDF is confident it will secure a comfortable majority to retain the municipality and be able to provide continuity in governance.

With a seasoned leader like former CPI(M) area secretary P.K. Rajmohan in the forefront, the LDF hopes to capture at least 32 seats and cement its hold on the council. The presence in the fray of five party area committee members, including former municipal vice chairperson K.K. Shibu and CITU national council member V. Kesavan Kutty, is reassuring.

The problems that have bogged down the State government recently will not have much of an impact here for people’s concerns are development at the local level, says CPI(M) area secretary Sreekumar T.

Two rounds of campaigning are over, and a convention of LDF candidates in 44 wards will be followed by ward-level conventions and family meetings, says Mr. Sreekumar.

The Congress is contesting all 44 wards this time. Though tight-lipped about the frontrunners for the chairperson’s post, the party is projecting DCC general secretary J. Jose Franklin and former municipal chairperson S.S. Jayakumar as its main candidates. The name of Leader of the Opposition in the past council A. Lalitha is doing the rounds as a possible vice chairperson candidate.

The party has completed a couple of rounds of campaigning, and is set to distribute door-to-door a ‘charge sheet’ containing unkept promises of the LDF-ruled council, says Neyyattinkara block Congress committee president Venpakal Avaneendrakumar.

A former councillor from Chundavila A. Prabha has left the Congress and joined the NDA to contest the polls, but Mr. Avaneendrakumar downplays it saying the candidate's loyalties were questionable. He also claims it is after long that the party is not facing rebel trouble.

The BJP is optimistic it will improve its tally to 24 seats and bag the majority in the council. R. Rajesh, BJP Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency president, says they not only won five seats last time, but lost out the top spot in 14 wards by less than 20 votes. Taking that into account and the work done by the party in these five years, the party has reasons to feel confident.

The BJP is contesting in 42 wards.,The BJP's poll plank is the 'failures' of both the LDF and the UDF on the development front, particularly town development, indoor stadium, refreshment centres for travellers, electric crematorium project, and waste management.

However, the BJP is facing rebel trouble with former party councillor from Nilamel V. Harikumar contesting as an Independent after he was denied a ticket in Alumoodu ward in favour of Manchathala Suresh, Karshaka Morcha district general secretary. The party hopes to extend the olive branch to Mr. Harikumar and persuade him to backtrack, says Mr. Rajesh.

While R. Lekha of the CPI(M) has joined the Congress to contest from Ooruttukala ward, rebel trouble has reared its head in a couple of wards. The LDF though is not too perturbed, saying they are faring much better than their opponents.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 4:57:17 PM |

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