Kerala local body polls | Battle lines drawn, main political fronts keen to slug it out

Kerala local body polls | Battle lines drawn, main political fronts keen to slug it out

Thiruvananthapuram: The bugle for the local bodies poll has been sounded by the State Election Commission. With the three major political fronts gearing up to take on their rivals in the midst of the Covid- 19 pandemic, the stage is set for an unprecedented electoral battle in the state.

The outcome of the polls to elect people's representatives for the hundreds of three-tier local self-government bodies will give a clear indication about what is in store for the Assembly elections scheduled to be held early next year. The biggest challenge before the rival fronts is to get the voters to the polling booths as Covid-19 still rages.

Kerala local body polls on Dec 8, 10 & 14; Results on Dec 16

Instead of the usual election campaign, this time the political parties will vie with each other to reach out to voters through the digital platform.

Though there have been exceptions, yet mostly the outcome of the local bodies polls have influenced the assembly polls which happen within a space of months. With the result declaration on December 16, only three months would be left for the decisive assembly elections.

Left Democratic Front

The seat sharing and candidate selection processes have almost been completed in all districts. The LDF leadership is meeting on Tuesday to discuss other matters related to the elections. From six parties in the last elections, the LDF now has 11 constituents and the expansion of the front has created seat-sharing problems at many places. The local bodies poll will also be an acid test for Kerala Congress (Jose K Mani) which recently joined the alliance.

Even though the LDF and CPM are facing a major crisis at the moment owing to various controversies, there are no dissenting voices within the party or the front. Despite that repeating or sustaining the 2015 victory is going to be a big challenge for the ruling front.

"Controversies will not have any impact. People will discuss development issues. LDF will make huge strides," said LDF Convenor A Vijayaraghavan.

A Vijayaraghavan
LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan

United Democratic Front

The district leadership meetings which were to be concluded by November 11, will now have to be rushed through by November 9. The UDF leadership meeting is slated to take place after November 12. Local body polls figures on the top of the agenda of Saturday's Congress political affairs committee meeting. The UDF leadership at the district level has been directed to complete the seat-sharing process within two days. The objective is to take advantage of the favourable political situation in the state by capturing maximum district panchayats and corporations. The UDF is facing controversies related to its tie up with certain parties outside the front.

"UDF will sweep local bodies' polls. People will give a massive mandate against the corrupt LDF government," Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala sounded upbeat.

Ramesh Chennithala
Ramesh Chennithala

National Democratic Alliance

The majority of the seats will be contested by the BJP and BDJS. BJP has decided to focus and channelise its energies on 6,000 select wards in the state. However, candidates will be fielded in all wards. The party which won 1,300 wards in 2015 expects to double the number this time. The BJP believes that with good performance in the local body polls, the party will be able to pose a big challenge in the Assembly elections due early next year. There is a strong apprehension that the factional feud in the party could play a spoil sport.

"NDA will win the maximum number of seats. LDF and UDF have been completely isolated from the people," K Surendran, BJP state president, asserted. .

K Surendran
K Surendran
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