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Thursday, February 25, 2021

4 panchayats in bag, Kerala corporate body looks to build support for polls

At the Kizhakkambalam panchayat, Twenty20 had won over voters mainly by ensuring supply of provisions at subsidised rate for enrolled members. In the other three panchayats, KITEX is planning similar strategies.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: February 8, 2021 5:35:04 am
Ernakulam district panchayats, kerala assembly polls, kerala KITEX enterprise, kerala news, indian express newsKITEX MD and Twenty20 chief coordinator Sabu Jacob said the apolitical organisation wanted to contest in the Assembly elections

Kerala’s leading private enterprise KITEX, which is ruling four village panchayats in Ernakulam district with its corporate social responsibility arm Twenty20 on Sunday launched a membership campaign to build a support base for the Assembly polls.

KITEX MD and Twenty20 chief coordinator Sabu Jacob said the apolitical organisation wanted to contest in the Assembly elections and the membership drive is meant to take feedback from the public. “We haven’t decided on where to field the candidates. We would take a final decision based on the response from the membership campaign, which is expected to give us a direction,” said Sabu.

He added that some 80,000 new members had signed up with Twenty20. “We have already 1.50 lakh members from 35,000 families across 4 panchayats, where we had contested and won in December last year,” he said. Twenty20 made its electoral debut in the 2015 civic body elections at its home town of Kizhakkambalam, where it defeated main rival CPI (M). In the 2020 local body elections, Twenty20 not only retained Kizhakkambalam panchayat, but also wrested power in three neighbouring village bodies, cutting a wide swathe through the votebanks of both Congress and CPI (M).

At the Kizhakkambalam panchayat, Twenty20 had won over voters mainly by ensuring supply of provisions at subsidised rate for enrolled members. In the other three panchayats, KITEX is planning similar strategies.

However, Congress leader and party general secretary Mathew Kuzhalnadan said the voting pattern in Assembly elections is a lot different compared to a local body election. “We don’t think that an apolitical outfit can make much impact in an Assembly election, where political voting is decisive. However, we don’t underestimate the Twenty20 membership campaign drive. It demands that we have to make our machinery more active at the grassroots level,” he said.

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