LDF does not go easy at Attingal, a left bastion

Last polls a shock for UDF as BJP bagged four seats, one seat shy of a tie

Attingal municipality has been a left bastion for years, but even as the campaigning progresses here, the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is not leaving anything to chance. At least some of those campaigning on the ground have bitter memories of an unexpected defeat in the Lok Sabha elections last year, even though the concerns of the voting population are starkly different in local body elections.

In a local body that has always witnessed a direct fight between the LDF and the United Democratic Front (UDF), the story was a bit different in 2015 as the Bharatiya Janata Party gave a stiff fight for second place. In the 31-member municipal council, the LDF currently holds 22 seats, while the UDF has five and the BJP, four.

The LDF had to sit in opposition only once since 1979, but this was no reason for it to go easy, as their candidates were the first to start campaigning in most wards.

“Our candidates have completed at least one round of campaigning in their respective wards. The LDF squads began their round of request for votes in door-to-door campaigns on Friday, and are expected to complete it by November 23. The candidates will also be running multiple rounds of campaigns highlighting the achievements of the municipality in the past few terms under the LDF. The BJP won a few seats last time because the UDF had fielded weak candidates in some of these seats, for instance in a ward like Pachamkulam, they could not cross even three-digit votes,” says M. Pradeep, the current municipal chairman, and one of the key campaign managers.

For the UDF, which ruled the municipality in the term ending 2005, the previous election was a kind of shock, as it retained the opposition party status by just a whisker.

Hopes up

M. Anilkumar, the UDF’s council leader, feels that things would be better this time. The UDF camp had begun its work quite early under Adoor Prakash, MP, who had met the party workers from all wards over the past six months and micromanaged the candidate selection.

“We feel that the wind is favourable to us this time. That is the feeling we got after completing one round of campaigning. Until now, we have only one rebel candidate. The BJP is in a sorry state, especially after the resignation of one of their councillors towards the end of the term. There is also strong anti-incumbency,” says Mr. Anilkumar.

The BJP has fielded three out of the four councillors who won the elections in 2015. Mandalam president and the BJP’s leader in the council S. Santosh, who has been managing the campaign, says that the party has managed to mount a robust campaign both offline and online.

“We have gained some early advantage in campaigning. The fight clearly is between the LDF and the BJP,” says Mr. Santosh.

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