Thiruvananthapuram: Inspired by the stupendous victory of Twenty20, an organisation propped up by a corporate group, in Kizhakkambalam panchayat in 2015, many individuals and groups have come together to experiment the same model in the forthcoming local bodies poll.
Several people’s collectives and local outfits have fielded candidates in the local bodies’ poll to give the mainstream political parties a run for their money. Kizhakkambalam Twenty20 is fielding 93 candidates in the coming elections. Besides Kizhkambalam, the outfit has set its eyes on Kunnathunad, Aikyakkaranadu, Mazhuvannoor and Vengola panchayats. The Kizhakkambalam spirit has had an infectious effect in other places as well.
In Kochi a new outfit "V for Kochi" has arrived on the poll scene. Armed with the slogan "Power to the people" , the outfit has already announced candidates for 39 divisions. In Udayamperoor Team20 and in Chellanam panchayat another 20Twenty has entered the fray to challenge the mainstream political fronts. In Thrippunithura, local people under the banner "We for Thrippunithura" are trying their luck in the ensuing polls.
The mainstream parties had some bitter experiences in the 2015 polls. Public anger led to the defeat of Congress in its strong bastion Vadakarapathy panchayat in Palakkad district.
A local protest had erupted in the name of "Right bank canal" which took the shape of a collective. They fielded candidates in 17 wards of the panchayat and won all. The outfit is in the fray this time as well.
Another Congress stronghold East Eleri grama panchayat in Kasargod district had witnessed an upset victory by a local outfit Peoples Development Front (PDF). The internal feud in Congress led to the formation of PDF which captured the grama panchayat in last elections. This year the outfit has set its eyes on district panchayat and block panchayat.
Apart from Congress, there are people’s collective which are posing a threat to CPM also. In CPM stronghold Kainagiri panchayat in Kuttanad, the party faced a stiff challenge from the Kainakiri Development Council which won three wards in protest against the lack of development in the area. This time they are fielding three candidates.
In Thiruvananthapuram corporation which has been a stronghold of CPM led LDF, a newly formed outfit Thiruvananthapuram Vikasana Munnettam (TVM) led by former planning board member and founder of Technopark G Vijayaraghavan has announced candidates for 12 wards. .
Candidate selection through opinion poll
The people’s collectives have adopted a unique way to select their candidates through ground level surveys. In Kizhakkambalam the Twenty20 outfit conducted house to house survey for finalizing its list of candidates which has given prominence to women. In Chellanam, a survey was conducted through Whatsapp groups to finalise the candidates.
Caste certificates need to be produced
The State Election Commission has said that the candidates contesting from wards reserved for SC/ST should produce the caste certificate obtained from Tahsildar. The caste certificates with a validity period of three years will also be considered.