Congress-led UDF firmly placed to face civic polls

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Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling Congress-led UDF is ready and on a strong wicket to face the upcoming local body elections, a top UDF leader asserted on Tuesday.

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Speaking to reporters here after a United Democratic Front (UDF) meeting, its convenor P.P.Thankachen said the meeting concluded that the UDF was prepared for the polls and confident of performing well.

“Politically, we have found out there is a strong wind in favour of the UDF. This has risen on account of the numerous development activities that the UDF government has done in both towns and cities of the state,” he said.

“In our assessment, the UDF is strongly poised to do well at the polls, similar to what happened last time (2010). The pointer to this came when we won the recent Aruvikara by-election,” said Thankachen.

On the difference of opinion between the State Election Commissioner (SEC) and the state government over the timing of the upcoming local body elections, Thankachen denied any rift between the two.

Stating that Monday’s talks between the two were very cordial and media reports about it were not true, Thankachen said: “At yesterday’s talks, an agreement was reached between the chief minister and the SEC.”

“It was decided that when the affidavit to the high court is going to be filed on the 3rd of next month, the date and the schedule of the polls will be there. The government has assured the SEC that it would lend all support for the smooth conduct of the polls,” he added.

As per the current scheme of things all the new local bodies will have to assume office latest by November 1, but the recent delimitation exercise appears to have derailed this.

While the state government wants the polls to be based on the recent delimitation, the SEC feels that the process is yet to be completed and it would be better to have it based on the 2010 list.

This issue is presently before the Kerala High Court which is expected to give its verdict next month.

Thankachen also said that the UDF was united and all issues which were to be ironed out between the allies, would be done before the next UDF meeting to be held here on September 10.