Kerala

Rebel menace haunts UDF, LDF in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta

As the campaign for the upcoming local body election enters the last lap, a common thread that runs through the two leading coalitions in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts is the spectre of rebel menace in different locations.

While the parties have initiated stringent action including the expulsion of rebels, these are mostly seen in political circles as a routine exercise to send across a terse message. As most of these rebels are contesting from their respective area of influence, these messages are often lost on the voters.

Among the two fronts, UDF accounts the highest number of rebel candidates when the two districts are taken together. For instance, the coalition is facing rebels in as many as seven wards in Thiruvalla and six wards in Erattupetta municipalities.

This is in addition to the threats from rebels in a few wards across the various other local bodies including Kottayam, Changanassery, Adoor, Pathanamthitta, Ettumanur, Vaikom, among others. The most notable case of infighting, however, has been reported from the Athirampuzha division of the Kottayam district panchayat where the official UDF candidate Rosamma Sony is facing two UDF rebels Moly Louis, a former Mahila Congress leader, and Saly George of the KC(M) Joseph group.

As if the threat posed by the rebels is not enough, there are also a few friendly contests taking place within the coalition, especially between the Congress and the Joseph group in a handful of wards, mostly in Pathanamthitta.

“It is a fact that the coalition has not been able to placate all dissidents and the troubles arising out of it can make some difference in some seats. There is a real chance of the rebels and friendly fights splitting the votes in favour of the party though the issue is limited to only a handful of wards,” said Victor Thomas, chairman of the UDF District Committee, Pathanamthitta.

The LDF, meanwhile, also faces threat from rebels, although at a much lesser degree. The front has rebels in a couple of wards across the Erattupetta, Pala and Vaikom municipalities and in a handful of Panchayats including Kadanad, Uzhavoor , Erumeli and Kuravilangadu panchayats.

“The LDF has been able to settle the rebel menace in the district and block panchayat levels while the issues in a couple of wards at the panchayats may not have much of an impact on the overall outcome,” said V.N. Vasavan, LDF leader and CPI(M) Kottayam district secretary.

The threat of intra-coalition fighting in the left, however, appears to be most intense in the Kozhencherry panchayat in Pathanamthitta, where the CPI remains officially out of the LDF framework and has fielded candidates against the left coalition in four wards.

The NDA, meanwhile, is relatively free from the threats posed by rebels in both districts.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 6:24:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rebel-menace-haunts-udf-ldf-in-kottayam-and-pathanamthitta/article33214512.ece

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