6:43 pm - Wednesday June 16, 2021

Political parties in Kerala gearing up for local elections

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While the Congress that heads the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) will hit the roads from November 4 to energise party workers, the Left parties and the Bharatiya Party (BJP) are revamping their party machinery and finalising strategies to expand their support base.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V M Sudheeran will kick off the party’s preparations by undertaking a march (yatra) from the state’s northern tip of Manjeswaram to the southern tip of Trivandrum next month.

An expanded executive committee of the KPCC that met at Trivandrum on Friday finalised the yatra, which is christened as ‘Janakpaksha Yatra’, and the issues to be raised during its course from November 4 to December 9.

The phased prohibition and the state-wide drive against substance abuse initiated by the UDF government will be the major focus of the yatra. Sudheeran, who was instrumental in introducing the phased prohibition, may drum up support from the people for the successful implementation of the drives.

Sudheeran, who was appointed as KPCC chief before the Lok Sabha election with the task of ending the factionalism crippling the party in the state, may also use the yatra to free the organisation from the clutches of groups.

The yatra would also seek to check the growth of BJP that made big inroads into the support base of the Congress and other parties in several states. Sudheeran would be trying to keep the party’s core support base — the minorities — intact.

Though the BJP has not been able to win any seat in the State Assembly and Lok Sabha from the state, the sharp increase in the votes the party polled in the Lok Sabha elections have rattled both the dominant fronts in the state.

The state unit of the BJP is in fact trying to cash in on the Modi wave to win at least 1000 local wards. The party could win only 480 wards, including nine corporation and 79 municipal wards, in the last election in 2010.

The BJP has convened a state leadership meeting at Kottayam on Saturday to discuss the strategy to capture more local bodies. The meeting will also be attended by past state president. The meeting is in the light of party all-India president Amit Shah’s appeal to the party leadership to strengthen the party by ending factional squabbles.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front is feeling more threatened by the rise of the BJP. This is a hot topic discussion at the ongoing local conferences of the CPI (M) and CPI.

Most members of the local committee have aired concern over the flow of party workers to the BJP. They have expressed the fear that they will meet the fate of the Left parties in Bengal if measures are not taken to prevent the BJP from making inroads into its support base.

The state conferences of the two parties scheduled to be held early next year are expected to bring fresh leadership and new programmes to meet the challenge. The CPI (M) has already launched a waste disposal drive to connect with the people.

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