It’s a tall order for both UDF and LDF

When Babu exudes confidence, Swaraj unperturbed by rival’s outdated strategy

The announcer was speaking about the good work done by K. Babu, the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate from the Thripunithura Assembly constituency, while vouching for his innocence in the bar bribery scandal and attacking the State government for its alleged failures endlessly when Mr. Babu himself made it to the reception organised at Ayni Nada, near Maradu, in an open vehicle on Thursday afternoon.

Being thrown into the cauldron of yet another election contest seems to have lifted the spirits of the former minister and five-time MLA who was reduced to an outcast by his own party in the last five years.

Mr. Babu was confident of his victory though he admitted the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to have a headstart in the campaign, which he blamed on the delay in announcing his candidacy. “These people haven’t seen their MLA since the election, while I was available despite having lost. Ask them about the difference between me and the present MLA and you will realise why I am confident about the victory,” Mr. Babu gestured towards the people at the reception.

He then went on to wield the microphone and list out his many achievements during his previous terms in his conversational style besides taking potshots at the incumbent’s claim to development worth ₹2,600 crore.

Pitching Mr. Babu as the quintessential accessible politician and painting the incumbent and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate M. Swaraj as a recluse seems to be the main campaign strategy of the UDF camp.

Mr. Swaraj, taking a break for lunch at a local committee member’s house at South Pereekkad in Thripunithura municipality after a vehicle campaign in sweltering heat, said it was an outdated strategy of the UDF across the State to present their leaders as more popular than their LDF counterparts.

“A legislator’s popularity is largely determined by the healthy assistance he facilitates for the people in which I have the best record in the district. Our campaign is based on development of the constituency, the State government’s achievements, and the politics. Mr. Babu has staked claim to BJP votes and it is now for the leadership of those two parties to come clear on whether they have struck any unholy nexus for vote trading,” he said.

Wrapping up his campaign for forenoon at another part of the municipality, BJP candidate K.S. Radhakrishnan shot down the allegations and said he had no clue on what basis Mr. Babu had made that claim. “We are confident of a victory by bagging about 60,000 votes. Those who believe in democracy and god-fearing people among the electorate will see us through,” he said.

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