In Ernakulam & Chalakudy Lok Sabha contests, Twenty20 likely to play spoilsport

It is believed that Twenty20 will eat into Congress votes and its presence will not hamper LDF, especially the CPM vote-bank. However, Twenty20 party president Sabu M Jacob begged to differ.
A young supporter of apolitical outfit Twenty20 in Kizhakkambalam -
A young supporter of apolitical outfit Twenty20 in Kizhakkambalam - File Photo - Express - A Sanesh

KOCHI : It’s foray into the 2021 assembly elections did not yield the desired results. However, Twenty20 did not lose hope. And in this Lok Sabha elections, the Kitex-backed political outfit has fielded candidates in two constituencies — Chalakudy and Ernakulam — in a move that has created a flutter.

Political analysts said the party’s presence in the LS polls cannot be written off, as it has the potential to play spoilsport to all the three fronts vying to woo voters.

As of now, Twenty20 controls four local bodies, Kizhakkambalam, Mazhuvannoor, Kunnathunad and Aikaranad, all under the Kunnathunad assembly segments of the Chalakudy LS constituency. In the 2021 elections, its candidate secured 42,701 votes, or 27.56% of the vote share in Kunnathunad, indirectly causing the defeat of Congress’ V P Sajeendran. In all, Twenty20 fielded eight candidates in the assembly polls and got 1.45 lakh votes in total.

“Twenty20 has a relevance in the 2024 polls,” said D Dhanuraj, founder-chairman of Kochi-based Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR). “There is an anti-incumbency wave against both mainstream parties and fronts. Voters consider such outfits as alternatives. Besides, Twenty20 has a track record of implementing pro-people measures in Kizhakkambalam and other grama panchayats. Also, the recent row over electoral bond will not pose it a major problem,” Dhanuraj said.

Charlie Paul, a lawyer, is Twenty20’s pick in Chalakudy against UDF’s Benny Behanan (sitting MP), LDF’s C Raveendranath (former minister) and NDA’s K A Unnikrishnan of the BDJS.

In Ernakulam, the party has fielded young Antony Judy to take on UDF candidate and MP Hibi Eden, LDF candidate K J Shine and NDA candidate K S Radhakrishnan.

If Twenty20’s candidates get 40,000 votes or more, it will affect the prospects of the main political fronts, predicted Dhanuraj.

“They control four grama panchayats. Their party meetings and other events saw good public participation. We cannot write them off. Their influence will definitely reflect in Chalakudy constituency,” he said.

It is believed that Twenty20 will eat into Congress votes and its presence will not hamper LDF, especially the CPM vote-bank. However, Twenty20 party president Sabu M Jacob begged to differ.

“Many are saying we get votes from Congress sympathisers. This is wrong. In 2020 (local body elections), in many wards where we won, the LDF got votes in single digits. Congress managed to finish behind us. This shows there will be a shift of communist votes. Present day communists are not like the previous party. Ordinary workers, barring leaders, will vote for us,” Sabu had said last week.

Twenty20 scripted history in 2020 by winning three grama panchayats while retaining Kizhakkambalam.

It also won, for the first time, in two divisions, Kolenchery and Vengola, of Ernakulam district panchayat.

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