Kochi: With Kerala assembly polls just weeks away, Twenty20, the political party and non-profit organization promoted by Kitex Garments, announced on Wednesday that it will field three more candidates for the April 6 elections. This takes the total number of candidates fielded by Twenty20 to 8.
The three candidates are: Dr Terry Thomas Edathotty, a consultant Orthodontics at the Lissie Hospital (Thrikkakara); Leslie Pallath, former principal of St Albert's college (Ernakulam); and Fort-Kochi resident Shini Antony, who runs a fitness centre and offers physiotherapy training sessions for differently-abled children (Kochi).
On Monday, the party, which was allocated "pineapple" as the election symbol, had announced the names of five candidates - Dr Sujith P Surendran in Kunnathunadu, Chithra Sukumaran in Perumbavoor, Dr Jose Joseph in Kothamangalam, CN Prakash in Muvattupuzha, and Dr Job Chakkalakkal in Vypin.
Dr Jose Joseph, who is contesting from the Kothamangalam constituency, is the son-in-law of Kerala Congress leader PJ Joseph.
On the day, business magnate Kochouseph Chittilappilly, actor Sreenivasan, and writer-director Siddique too joined the Twenty20 ranks.
Twenty20 party president Sabu M Jacob announced the formation of a seven-member advisory body headed by Chittilappally to oversee the election campaign of the party. The board will be expanded into a 20-member committee. Sreenivasan and Siddique will also be part of this body. However, they will not contest the polls.
Sabu also claimed that 1.25 lakh people have taken membership in "Twenty20" in the district during its membership campaign held two weeks ago.
Kochouseph Chittilappilly is the founder and chairman of V-Guard Industries Ltd and a chain of amusement parks called Wonderla.
Sreenivasan is a film actor and screenwriter who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema. He has starred in over 200 films. Siddique is an Indian film director and screenwriter.
Twenty20, started as a development initiative of the Anna-Kitex Group few years ago, had sprung a surprise on mainstream political parties in the civic polls held last December by winning four gram panchayats, nine block panchayat divisions and two district panchayat divisions in Ernakulam district.
In its first political debut in 2015, Twenty20 swept the local body elections in Kizhakkambalam winning 17 of the 19 seats with an overwhelming vote share of 69 per cent.
In the 2020 local body elections, Twenty20 also won the panchayats of Mazhuvannoor (13/19 seats), Kunnathunad (11/18 seats) and Aikkaranadu (all 14 seats) by eating into the vote share of conventional alliances – the CPM-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF.
In Kizhakambalam, where its electoral journey began, Twenty20 increased its seat count from 17 to 18.
Anna-Kitex Group is a Rs 12 billion garment company founded by MC Jacob in 1968.