KERALA

Another feather in Achuthanandan's cap

LDF sweeps local bodies falling within Malampuzha Assembly constituency

Staff Reporter

PALAKKAD: The record sweep of the local bodies falling under the Malampuzha constituency by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) is another feather in the cap of the Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan who represents the segment in the State Assembly.

Three district panchayat wards, a block panchayat and eight grama panchayats fall within the constituency limits and the LDF, mostly CPI(M) candidates, has won in all these places.

In the 2001 Assembly election, Mr. Achuthanandan, a veteran of many a battle, contested from Malampuzha, leaving the Mararikulam constituency in his home district of Alappuzha. The party probably chose Malampuzha because it was the safest seat it could offer for its Chief Minister candidate. Malampuzha had returned the late Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar (in 1982 with a margin of 16,596 votes) and the former Finance Minister T. Sivadas Menon (in 1996 with a margin of 18,779 votes). But in the 2001 election, Mr. Achuthanandan could win the seat with a margin of just 4,703 votes.

The fall in margin of Mr. Achuthanandan had kicked off a major controversy in the party with allegations of attempts to `repeat Mararikulam' where a section in the party allegedly worked for his shock defeat in the previous election.

But after he became MLA, Mr. Achuthanandan has spent more time in the district, taking up problems of different sections of the people and making him popular even outside LDF circles.

In the just-concluded local bodies election he toured the district extensively, campaigning for the LDF despite his busy schedule.

The LDF won in the three district panchayat wards of Elappully, Malampuzha and Marutharode with thumbing majorities. Malampuzha block panchayat has been swept by the LDF winning all the 11 wards — CPI(M) - 10 and CPI - one.

The CPI(M) wrested Malampuzha grama panchayat from Congress by winning 10 of the 12 seats.

In Polpully grama panchayat, the LDF won in all the 12 wards. In the 22-member Pudussery grama panchayat, the CPI(M) won 16 seats and the Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) which has its support won one seat.

In Peruvambu, the LDF retained power by winning 11 of 13 wards. In Puduppariyaram, the LDF made big strides by winning 16 of 20 seats. In the 16-ward Akathethara panchayat, the LDF won nine seats and the DIC(K) two. In Elappully, the LDF retained power by winning 13 of 21 wards. In Marutharode, the CPI(M) retained power by winning 10 of 18 wards.

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