Kerala

UDF to use SilverLine as a wedge issue in Thrikkakara

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor campaigning for UDF’s Thrikkakkara candidate Uma Thomas at Palarivattom Junction on Tuesday.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor campaigning for UDF’s Thrikkakkara candidate Uma Thomas at Palarivattom Junction on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: R.K. Nithin

The United Democratic Front (UDF) appears intent on capitalising on K-Rail (SilverLine) as a forceful wedge issue in the Thrikkakara Assembly byelection.

It has already perceived a victory in the government’s move to shun concrete markers for non-intrusive GPS based geotagging technology to demarcate the alignment of the semi-highspeed railway’s 540-km-long transit line.

The UDF feels the symbolic gesture to placate residents angered by laying the pillars on their land would not pass muster with voters.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan indicated that the second phase of the anti-SilverLine agitation was in the offing. He demanded the government withdraw the cases against K-Rail protesters, including homemakers and political workers.

The government was unlikely to heed to the UDF demand. It has reportedly sought legal opinion in the matter. The administration had not dropped charges in comparable agitations in the past.

Notably, the CPI(M) is pushing to build its victory in Thrikkakara on the development and welfare platform that stood the ruling front in good stead in the 2021 Assembly elections. Notably, its election campaign spotlighted Thrikkakara as the prospective hub of K-Rail operations.

CPI(M) charge

CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the Congress and the Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) were acting in tandem to scuttle K-Rail out of political spite. They feared the SilverLine would put the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on the path to victory in the 2026 Assembly polls.

Moreover, the BJP had ensured that the Centre's railway development schemes bypassed Kerala. Furthermore, the Opposition lacked any specific plan to tackle thorny issues such as the need for an affordable, future proof and non-polluting mass rapid transport system.

The UDF also highlighted corruption as a significant talking point in Thrikkakara. For one, Indian Union Muslim League president Panakkad Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal said the collapse of a beam of an under-construction bridge in Kozhikode pointed to entrenched graft in the Public Works Department (PWD).

Public Works Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyaz countered by harking back to the shoddy construction of the Palarivattom bridge and claimed a Cigilance probe was on into the bridge collapse. A hodgepodge of other issues could also inform the competing campaigns in the run-up to the byelection on May 31.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 12:28:46 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/udf-to-use-silverline-as-a-wedge-issue-in-thrikkakara/article65423897.ece