Independents’ performance may decide fate of Koduvally municipality

Presence of namesake candidates also worrying both fronts

It goes without saying that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) determines the fate of any election in Koduvally, which once had the highest number of gold jewellery outlets per sq. km. Of late, those who left that party during various periods too are playing a major role in its politics.

The upcoming polls to the local municipality, the only one held by the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kozhikode district, is no different.

Major players other than the IUML are the followers of P.T.A. Raheem, Kunnamangalam MLA and former IUML strongman, who recently merged his party National Secular Conference with the Indian National League, which is another breakaway group of the IUML. The INL is part of the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

What makes the contest this time interesting is the presence of a number of Independents, supported both by the ruling UDF and the LDF. They include Karat Faisal, who has been accused of being part of gold smuggling. Though Mr. Faisal was earlier proposed as an LDF Independent candidate from the Chundappuram division, the CPI(M) district committee later dropped the idea in the wake of the gold smuggling controversy. It has been alleged that though the LDF has fielded O.P. Rasheed from here, a majority of LDF workers were campaigning for Mr. Faisal.

In Panakkode

Another curious fight is happening in Panakkode division, where deputy chairperson of the outgoing council A.P. Majeed, who faced disciplinary action from the IUML, is contesting as an Independent. It is learnt that the UDF has thrown its weight behind Mr. Majeed.

In another division, the UDF is reportedly supporting a Welfare Party of India candidate to counter a CPI(M) candidate.

In Vavad Centre

In Vavad Centre division, the UDF has fielded K. Sivadasan, whose membership was cancelled by thState Election Commission last time. Mr. Sivadasan later managed to get a court order in his favour. According to sources, there are at least 11 such wards where similarly interesting fights are happening. The presence of namesake candidates is also worrying both the fronts.

In the outgoing council, the UDF had 19 members, the LDF 16 and one division was held by an Independent. This is only the second election to the municipality, which was a grama panchayat till 2015.

Asked about their major achievements, Mr. Majeed said that the council could complete around 1,000 houses for the homeless under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. As many as 6,000 LED street lights were installed and 298 rural roads repaired. “During the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, we were the first to implement a free quarantine facility for Gulf returnees. We also proposed schemes to help those who lost jobs due to the pandemic,” said Mr. Majeed. However, LDF leaders said they were not taking any chances and were confident of putting up a tough fight to capture power.

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