KOCHI: It seems people of Chellanam, the coastal village in Ernakulam, who are caught between the fast Covid-19 spread and battering sea, have declared an all-out-war against all political parties in the state. They are planning to announce a new brotherhood and contest against the mainstream party candidates in the upcoming civic body poll.
They have decided to form Chellanam 20-20, a non-political organisation along the lines of Kizhakkambalam Twenty-20, which is the first non-political organisation to come to power in a panchayat in the country. The Kizhakkambalam team won 17 out of the 19 seats on its home turf in the last elections. The Chellanam 20-20 has already started its social media campaign as there are restrictions for public gatherings because of the pandemic situation. Chellanam is under tight lockdown curbs after a huge rise in local transmission cases of Covid.
For several years, the people of Chellanam have been staging protests and demanding ‘pulimuttu’ (groynes) to protect the fisher folk who are facing severe threat from sea erosion. The political parties that came to power from time to time had made several promises to them, but these remain on paper. Now, people in the age group of 20-50 years have decided to form 20-20 and to contest the elections in the 21 wards of Chellanam panchayat. They are not bothered about the victory of candidates, but they think that this is an apt way to stage a protest against all parties.
“We have lost faith in the political parties. They have given tall promises, but nothing has been implemented to save our lives. We intend to express our strong protest by contesting in all wards of the panchayat,” said Charls Biju, who is in the forefront to form the organisation.
“We have been neglected by all political parties from time to time. This will come to an end only if all suffering local people act in unity,” added Biju.A Facebook group ‘Chellanam 20-20 for saving Chellanam’ was formed on July 20 with Pavizham Biju as the admin. More than 1,500 people have joined the group so far.
The core team consists of 10 members, and they have a WhatsApp group. The core committee will decide the candidate for each ward and will give equal participation to women in the elections, Biju said. The team will soon meet the office-bearers of Kizhakkambalam Twenty-20 to learn from them the way to build the organisation without allowing political parties and religious groups to infiltrate into it.
Voice of dissent
- Chellanam 20-20 has started a social media campaign due to restrictions on public gatherings
- The team is not bothered about victory in the local body polls
- Sees the brotherhood as an apt way to protest against political parties’ apathy towards village
- Will soon meet office-bearers of ‘Kizhakkambalam Twenty-20’