Kerala

In this left bastion, a first-timer takes on a veteran

The Thalavoor district panchayat division, a Left bastion for years, is all set for an interesting battle. While it is the maiden contest for 24-year-old Anandu Pillai, the youngest candidate fielded by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the district panchayat, United Democratic Front’s G. Radhamohan has been a public representative for the past 32 years. The district secretary of the Students Federation of India (SFI), Mr. Pillai is one of the popular young faces launched by the LDF as part of its new strategy.

Positive vibes

“I have been getting only positive vibes during the campaign and for many voters I am more like a family member. Thalavoor has remained a red fortress since the division was formed and this time also there will be no change in the trend. As the campaign moves ahead, we feel more confident,” he says.

Mr. Pillai says the current political ruckus is not strong enough to sabotage the goodwill generated by the ruling LDF. “The voters are well aware of how the government supported them, so there is no point in believing that the political controversies will influence them.” He points out various welfare schemes launched by the government, including the distribution of free ration kits during the pandemic. “Each family you visit is a beneficiary of one scheme or another. And when it is the time to elect their representative, they think about all these and not the so-called scandal.”

Never lost in a poll

Meanwhile, the UDF has set its poll hopes on a veteran, a prominent Congress leader with a formidable track record of never losing an electoral battle. “I have been a member of grama and block panchayats for several years. I have been a full-time politician for over four decades and people know me. This time there will be a change and the UDF will wrest power in the division,” says an equally confident Mr. Radhamohan.

The candidate also feels many factors, including the poor performance of the Kollam district panchayat, are in favour of the UDF. “The division has been lagging behind in development and the LDF has failed to address some serious issues. During the campaign I could sense that the public wants a change.”

He adds that the LDF playing the youth card can cause no major trouble. “The district panchayat is an important agency of governance and in a place like that what counts most is experience. I am sure that the voters will choose wisely,” he says.

A total of 46 grama panchayat wards come under the Thalavoor division, including all wards in Thalavoor and Vilakudy along with four wards in Pattazhy and two wards in Piravanthoor.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 4:21:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/in-this-left-bastion-a-first-timer-takes-on-a-veteran/article33170431.ece

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