Kerala

Lepumol hopes to change things

A first: Lepumol, Left Democratic Front candidate in the Kadamancodu ward at the Kulathupuzha grama panchayat, seeking votes. C. Sureshkumar  

With its sizeable pool of tribal voters, the Kadamancode ward in the Kulathupuzha grama panchayat is considered to be a traditional stronghold of the United Democratic Front. But this time, a 21-year-old in the electoral fray is all poised to bring in a refreshing change.

Left Democratic Front nominee Lepumol is the first person from the Kani tribe to contest in a general seat with the backing of a major political front.

“We are facing a lot of challenges from accessibility to lack of basic amenities. There are some glaring flaws in our system and I intend to correct them,” says the candidate.

According to the LDF leadership, Ms. Lepumol was no random choice and was handpicked after a careful scrutiny. “Though very young she is quite popular among the residents for her active involvement in addressing various issues,” says CPI(M) leader S.Jayamohan.

The ward, situated a few kilometres into the forest, has no properly levelled roads and it is just one of the several issues faced by residents.

“You can't walk without falling over many broken-down mud stretches they call roads. We don’t want high-tech roads, but an ordinary concrete surface to walk on.”

The place also has limited public transport facilities and Ms. Lepumol says improving that is one of her major goals.

“After Class IV, all students have to go to Kulathupuzha to continue their studies. The students have been suffering for long and we had to fight for a bus service. I was a college student when we organised the agitation and I believe I can do a lot more as an elected representative.”

The candidate seems to have no apprehensions about the ward repeatedly opting for the UDF in the past.

“Despite being in power for a long period they couldn't make any significant strides in addressing development-related issues. There are many residents who are homeless while some others have no proper sanitation facilities. During the campaign many people requested for basic civic amenities and the previous representatives couldn't even ensure that. Roads were sanctioned, but not built and it’s the same story in every case,” she says.

Most of the residents in the area are farmers and daily wage workers and Ms. Lepumol says it is for the first time in the State that a political front is fielding a tribal candidate for a general seat.

“More than the electoral outcome I am happy about the fact that my candidature will ensure appropriate representation in the future. I am sure I will inspire many others to come forward,” she says.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 5:38:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/lepumol-hopes-to-change-things/article33177918.ece

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