KOCHI: The biggest take away from the 2020 local body polls is the rise of Kitex-backed apolitical organisation Twenty20, which scripted a new chapter in history of Kerala local body polls by winning three more grama panchayats and retaining the existing Kizhakkambalam panchayat in Ernakulam district. The success has prompted Twenty20 to contest in the coming assembly elections in a big way.
The meteoric rise of Twenty20 in the other panchayats – Mazhuvannoor, Kunnathunad and Aikkaranadu – has taken place by eating into the votes of mainline political parties CPM and Congress.
In Mazhuvannur and Kunnathunad, Twenty20 crushed the ruling UDF to register the thumping victory while the ruling LDF-led by CPM was completely decimated in Aikkaranadu grama panchayat where Twenty20 won all the 14 seats.
Another major achievement for the organisation is the victory it could register for the first time in two divisions – Kolencherry and Vengola- in Ernakulam district panchayat. In Vengola, Twenty20 will play decisive role in forming the panchayat as it had won 8 seats. Congress leader and former Mazhuvannoor panchayat member Basil K George said the UDF never expected such a defeat as the front had implemented a lot of welfare measures in the panchayat.
“Twenty20 has succeeded in convincing people about a lot of freebies they could offer if voted to power. They are a corporate firm with strong finance to attract people through various means,” he said.
Ammukutty Sudarshanan, outgoing president of the panchayat, said Twenty20 canvassed votes promising to provide food kits at a cheap price. “Voters fell for it. We will analyse the reasons for the loss and chalk out a strategy to counter the rise of Twenty20,” she said.
For CPM which ruled Aikaranadu grama panchayat, the victory of Twenty20 and that too in all the 14 seats has come as a shocker. “We fought the elections politically while Twenty20 lured the voters with many offers like food kits and cheap commodities.
CPM will devise political measures to counter the rise of this corporate-backed organisation,” said CPM leader and outgoing president K K Raju. In Kizhakkambalam where Twenty20 started the innings in 2015 by winning 17 wards, it continued the winning streak by emerging victorious in 18 wards in 2020.
The only seat that went to a non-Twenty 20 candidate is Chelakkulam ward where an independent was backed unanimously by CPM, Congress and other political parties.
“It seems people are fed up with the routine political activities of mainline parties. They are looking for a change and now Twenty20 has started to fit the bill,” said Abdul Rahman P M, the SDPI candidate who could win a seat in 2015 polls from Kizhakkambalam.