LDF hopes to continue winning run

UDF terms five years of LDF rule a wasted opportunity

The Alappuzha district panchayat is one of the local bodies the Left Democratic Front (LDF) hopes to consolidate its stranglehold in the coming local body polls.

That said, the United Democratic Front (UDF) sees the election as an opportunity to make inroads into the red bastions and the rise of the BJP, as evident in recent elections, makes it an exciting electoral battle.

Back in 2015, it was easy sailing for the LDF, which bagged 16 out of the 23 seats in the district panchayat. The UDF had to settle for seven seats, while the BJP drew a blank. Ever since the Alappuzha district panchayat came into being, the LDF remained in power winning election after election.

The left front, which is hoping to continue its winning run, is banking on the development and good works in the last five years. District panchayat president G. Venugopal, who is not in the fray this time, exudes confidence of a comfortable victory for the LDF.

“We have implemented several projects in agriculture, health and education sectors with the aim of improving people’s lives. In the agriculture sector, projects worth ₹20 crore have been implemented. Among them are expanding the area of rice cultivation, developing infrastructure for the farm sector, promoting organic farming and so on. A sum of ₹14.77 crore was spent on renovating classrooms in 47 schools under the district panchayat. Another, ₹12.34 crore was spent on improving academic quality.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic started to wreak havoc in the district, we provided financial assistance for buying 75,000 antigen kits and setting up 23 COVID-19 sample collection kiosks in different parts of the district. Funds have also been spent for the development of Chengannur and Mavelikara district hospitals and Ayurveda and homeo hospitals,” Mr. Venugopal said.

Among other things, the LDF plans to highlight include the construction of 16,000 houses under the Livelihood Inclusion and Financial Empowerment (LIFE) Mission, for which the local body provided ₹45.8 crore and improvement in governance.

Meanwhile, the UDF termed the five years of LDF as a wasted opportunity with no development.

John Thomas, UDF leader in the district panchayat, said the LDF rule had brought misery to the farmers in Upper Kuttanad, Onattukara and other places. “The district panchayat failed to utilise the funds in full. They even failed to complete the drinking water projects envisaged more than five years ago. Despite the demands made by the Opposition, no measures were taken to improve facilities at the Government Ayurveda Hospital. Apart from a project, it has done nothing for the welfare of fishermen communities. Only those close to the ruling front were benefited in the last five years,” Mr. Thomas said.

The BJP, although failed to win a seat last time, is hoping for a good show at least in a handful of seats, including Mannar and Venmony, where it garnered significant votes in 2015.

Whoever wins, the post of president is reserved for a woman.

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