Among the Congress’s many young candidates in Kerala, Anil Akkara made it to the list after hard work as a panchayat president in Thrissur. He has impressed Adat village with his work in agriculture, organic farming, waste management, drinking water, sanitation and welfare schemes. It has won state and central awards as a model panchayat since he became president.
His “bible in politics” is the state’s Panchayati Raj Act. “The Act is the proper guide for a politician. It has guidelines for every step of a citizen, from birth to death. I just followed it and have been very successful so far,” he told The Indian Express in his poll office in Vadakkanchery, his seat.
Every household in Adat, which has a population of 40,000, gets drinking water, is self-reliant in agriculture, has its own brand of organic rice and coconut oil, and owns a “tourism village”. Every villager has health insurance that entitles her to treatment worth Rs 75,000 for an annual fee of Rs 500. Utilising NREGA funds, Akkara and his villagers turned 3,000 acres of waterlogged low-lying land into organic farms and cleaned up the local river, once a stinking drain and now Puzhakkal River tourism village attracting tourists to boat rides. The panchayat also has a 20-acre organic farm with vegetables and indigenous cows.
“Akkara’s image, which is appreciated by everyone across party lines, will be his biggest asset. He will win hands down with the goodwill,” said Rahul P Balachandran.
Akkara has his own ideas on local area development funds. “Why should we have these funds? Where is the people participation?” he said. “I have promised people, I will not put the MLA’s name on any project.”