KOCHI: Twenty20, the corporate social responsibility venture of the 1200-crore Anna-Kitex Group is set to become a political party.
“We have already applied for registration with the Election Commission, and are awaiting approval. The name of the party will be Twenty20,” said Kitex Garments managing director and Twenty20 chief coordinator Sabu M Jacob at a press conference here on Saturday. He said `300 crore would be spent in five years in Kizhakkambalam to transform the panchayat.
“We do not have any plan to contest in the coming Assembly election. Twenty20 is becoming a political party for getting a uniform symbol for our candidates in the future. Representatives of Twenty20 can take independent stand in elections. We do not have any inclination towards any political party. When Twenty20 was launched in 2013, we had no intention to contest in elections. But, then we learned that the roof of as many as 89 houses in the Kizhakkambalm panchayat were made of tarpaulin; 220 families did not have own house; in 200 houses there was no electricity and 1,100 families did not have access to drinking water. That too in the Ernakulam district, which is the most developed district in the State. Hence, we decided to contest the polls, with the view of changing the situation, which was the result of mistakes committed by politicians in the past, irrespective of their parties,” said Sabu Jacob.
Twenty20 has been registered as a charitable society under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act - 1955. It spent `36 crore in the past two-and-half years for development of the panchayat. Twenty20 won 17 seats in the 19-member Kizhakkambalam panchayat, and two seats in the Vazhakkulam block panchayat in the recent civic polls. The entity has now 7,600 card members in the panchayat.
“We are committed to closing down the lone ‘beverages’ outlet in the panchayat as promised in our manifesto. For this, we will move the High Court after the meeting of the panchayat council next week.
Sabu, meanwhile, refuted the ‘pollution’ allegations against the company, saying that whenever the UDF came to power in the Kizhakkambalam panchayat, it simply denied licence to the company without citing any reason. “This happened in the 2000-2002 period, and again in 2010-2015. We had been operating on deemed licence during those periods,” he said.