Kerala

KC(M) split may turn the tide in Thiruvalla

If one strictly goes by the number of seats it has secured in the council over the last two-and-a-half decades, the United Democratic Front (UDF) should not have much of a problem in retaining the Thiruvalla municipality in the coming local body election. But with a recent split in the Kerala Congress (M) and the subsequent changes in coalition dynamics, the challenge faced by the traditional favourite has become much tougher this time.

Of the seven wards in which the splinter factions of the KC(M) are facing off, only one seat favoured the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the previous polls. For a civic body having just 39 wards, the battle between the arch-rivals will be crucial in setting the final tally for both coalitions.

The KC(M), which had 10 seats in the outgoing council, became the lead partner of the ruling UDF after the High Court disqualified two Congress councillors for whip violation. When the party split vertically a few months ago, seven of them chose to stand by P.J. Joseph and the rest switched sides to the LDF with Jose K. Mani.

‘Rebels a headache’

“The overall mood is in favour of the UDF, but the presence of rebels in a handful of seats and the unending disputes between the P.J. Joseph faction and the Congress have become a headache,” admits a top UDF leader.

The LDF, which had just nine members in the previous council, looks to pull off a turnaround on the back of a high-intensity campaign focussing on the welfare measures of the State government. The presence of the Mani faction, which contests in nine seats, is crucial for the coalition. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which contests in 19 seats, has fielded several Independents this time. The Communist Party of India has four candidates. The Janata Dal (S) has been given five seats and the Nationalist Congress Party and Loktantrik Janata Dal, one seat each.

“The entry of the Mani group has become an added advantage, especially in areas where the Left parties have not been able to consolidate their position,” says CPI(M) district secretary K.P. Udayabhanu.

The BJP, which won four seats last time, commands a strong presence in over 50% of the wards and looks to improve its tally.

Among the candidates are four former municipal chairpersons, and three of them belong to the KC(M).

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 8:46:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kcm-split-may-turn-the-tide-in-thiruvalla/article33250567.ece

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