Kerala

Where Tamil voters will swing the fortune

The plantation areas and Anchunadu Valley in Idukki are witnessing a high-pitched campaign wooing the majority Tamil voters, whose support is decisive in the local body elections, especially in the grama panchayat.

The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (AIADMK) has fielded more candidates in the elections this time. However, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (DMK) is not active in the elections.

“As many as 109 AIADMK candidates are contesting in Idukki, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram, and Pathanamthitta districts. There are 60 candidates in Idukki, 40 in Palakkad, eight in Thiruvananthapuram, and one in Pathanamthitta contesting in the party ticket or with our support. We are contesting for the first time in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation,” says AIADMK State secretary Shobhakumar G.

In Idukki, nearly 70% of the population in Anchunadu and over 90% in the plantation areas are of Tamil origin. In Devikulam, Peerumade, and Udumbanchola taluks, having a sizeable Tamil population, the entry of the AIADMK has raised a challenge to both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Mr. Shobhakumar says the party will support Bharatiya Janata Party candidates wherever it had no candidates in the fray.

The AIADMK is contesting in 52 seats to grama panchayats, seven to block panchayats, and one to the district panchayat in Idukki.

District joint secretary Dhanalakshmi says the party is contesting in the Vattavada, Chinnakkanal, Marayur, Kanthalloor, Devikulam, Munnar, and Pallivasal grama panchayats in Devikulam and Udumbanchola taluks and the Vandiperiyar, Upputhara, Peerumade and Elappara grama panchyats in Peerumade taluk.

The most number of candidates is in Munnar, 15, Marayur, 7, Devikulam, 11, Peerumade, 6, Chinnakanal, 5, and Kanthallur, 4, grama panchayats. Mr. Shobhakumar says the party has fielded candidates in all important wards in Palakkad too.

Party sources say leaders of the party are camping at plantation towns to control the election campaign.

Taste of victory

In the last elections, the party fielded four candidates in Devikulam, Peerumade, and Udumbanchola taluks and three were elected. In the Peerumade grama panchayat, the elected member became president after both the UDF and the LDF got equal number of seats.

In the Vandiperiyar grama panchayat, the party has a candidate in the fray. Stephen, a resident of Moonkalar Estate, says campaigning has gained momentum in the estate areas.

The Pengal Otrumai, a collective of women tea estate workers, is not in the fray this time. It had fielded candidates and won seats in the Munnar grama panchayat, in addition to the Devikulam block panchayat in the last elections.

The response of Tamil voters in the local body elections is keenly watched in the three taluks in Idukki.

Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 7:21:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/where-tamil-voters-will-swing-the-fortune/article33196067.ece

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