Parties meet their match in apolitical outfit which is on an expansion mode
Defeating Twenty20, the apolitical corporate-backed charity outfit that swept into power in the last local body polls, has emerged the central objective of all three mainstream political formations in the 19-member Kizhakkambalam panchayat.
Notwithstanding that common purpose, a consensus for an understanding has evaded the political outfits.
Though the local Congress leadership had initially shown some interest in joining hands with the CPI(M) at least in select five wards where they felt such unity could defeat Twenty20, the CPI(M) shot down any such covert alliance. In fact, the Left Democratic Front went ahead and declared all 19 candidates — 17 from CPI(M) and two from CPI — and kick-started the campaign quite early.
“We haven’t discussed the possibility of joining hands with other political parties over a common cause. Our campaign is centred around exposing how the Twenty20 dispensation sabotaged many State government schemes like LIFE Mission in the panchayat and failed in utilising funds by emerging 69th among the 82 panchayats in the district. Even the formal faithful of that outfit is now convinced of its undemocratic ways,” said Jins T. Mustafa, secretary of the CPI(M) Kizhakkambalam local committee.
Local Congress leadership while sounding far more amenable to a ‘local strategy’ to defeat Twenty20 though would not openly admit it. But that strategy remains quite evident with the Congress contesting in just nine wards while fielding Independents in the remaining 10.
“Twenty20 remains our primary enemy with its autocratic ways,” said Elias Karipra, president of the Kizhakkambalam Assembly constituency of the Congress, who was not forthcoming about the ploy to field Independents in a majority of wards.
A step ahead
However, unperturbed by the overall derision they evoke, Twenty20 has gone about their business and even had a headstart over others in declaring candidates for all 19 wards and completed even multiple rounds of campaigning. In fact, expanding its reach, the outfit has fielded candidates in all wards of neighbouring Mazhuvannoor, Aikkaranadu, Kunnathunadu, and nine wards of Vengola panchayats on their common electoral symbol of mango.
“There is a covert understanding among all mainstream political and communal outfits to defeat us by fielding weak candidates in many wards. We are fighting this election by highlighting our three achievements in Kizhakkamabalam — leaving a debt-ridden panchayat with a fixed deposit of ₹18.57 crore, the social impact of bringing down crime and suicides by ensuring peace, happiness, and safety in every household, and effective management of pandemic by keeping the number of infections at the lowest,” said Sabu M. Jacob, businessman and chief mentor of Twenty20.
Having failed to have any member in the local body since the 1970s, Bharatiya Janata Party is also planning to make its presence felt, said Rajappan M.N., party working committee member for Kizhakkambalam.
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