Kerala

Three-cornered electoral battle in Cherthala

With the local body polls only a week away, the Cherthala Municipality is bracing for a three-cornered electoral battle.

The ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) is eyeing a hat-trick of victories after it came top in the 2010 and 2015 elections. The Left Democratic Front (LDF), which was last voted to power in Cherthala in 2005, is making an all-out effort to stop the UDF juggernaut and wrest the civic body. Giving both fronts a run for their money is the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The NDA, which drew a blank in 2015, made their presence felt in the outgoing municipal council by winning two seats in byelections held in recent years.

From local development issues to controversies including gold smuggling case are all major poll planks in Cherthala. The UDF is highlighting achievements of the last five years in its bid to retain the municipality. The civic body had three chairmen in the last five years as per an earlier agreement in the UDF. Isaac Madavana and P. Unni Krishnan, both Congress members, shared the post of chairman for a period of two-and-a-half years and one-and-a-half years respectively. In the final year, V.T. Joseph of the Kerala Congress (M) became the head. In the final days of the council, Mr. Joseph, an ally of Jose K. Mani, shifted his allegiance after the KC (M) led by Mani joined the LDF. The UDF leaders say the KC (M) Mani faction quitting the front would not impact its poll prospects. They exude confidence the UDF will not only retain power but will do it by improving their 2015 tally of 19 seats.

The LDF, on the other hand, seems upbeat about it returning to power after a gap of 10 years. The LDF is seeking votes by underscoring the good works of the State government and emphasizing the failures of the UDF-led council in the municipality. The LDF, which won 13 seats in the last election, hopes that the anti-incumbency factor will help it romp to victory with a comfortable majority this term.

The NDA, which came second in seven seats in 2015, before winning two byelections, is aiming to improve its tally considerably.

The presence of rebels and independents is expected to influence elections in a number of seats.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 5:11:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/three-cornered-electoral-battle-in-cherthala/article33214284.ece

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