Forum spearheaded protest for completion of Pizhala-Moolampilly bridge

In the last local body election, polling officials had to bring the entire election paraphernalia piled on a raft to set up polling booths in Pizhala, part of Kadamakudy panchayat. Five years down the line officials are spared of that, thanks to the Pizhala-Moolampilly bridge, the influence of which seems to have stretched to the electoral arena, so to speak.

For, contesting from wards 10, 11, and 12 (Pizhala north and south, and Paliyamthuruth) of Kadamakudy panchayat are candidates under the banner of Karamuttikkal Samara Samiti (KSS), formed to give collective vent to the simmering anger of local residents after the inordinately delayed and incomplete Pizhala-Moolampilly bridge left them completely marooned in the 2018 deluge. The outfit then spearheaded a protest enlisting youngsters and women for the completion of the bridge, which was eventually opened this June, nearly eight years after the construction was launched.

“Initially, we thought it was just about the bridge but then people encouraged us to look beyond it and contest the local body polls reminding us that if we could do as much without power, how much more we can do by participating in governance. We want to be the voice of people that cannot be ignored in the governance of Kadamakudy panchayat where the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) seem to be hand in glove,” said Sandra Manu, chairperson of KSS. From better roads and a hospital with round-the-clock care to seamless drinking water supply and restoration of ferry services, the organisation has brought out an exhaustive manifesto.

“We are seeking votes on our action and not on empty promises like political parties who continue to dish around the same unfulfilled promises, which they have failed to deliver over the years,” said Magline Philomina, patron of KSS.

Fronts confident

The LDF, however, waved away the challenge posed by the outfit as a temporary phenomenon with little electoral impact except in one ward. “They have managed to whip up some local sentiments in ward 10 by exploiting the internal differences within the Congress. Whatever drain in votes will be from the Congress while our vote base will be intact in all three wards,” said T.K. Vijayan, LDF convener for Kadamakudy.

Congress on the other hand was confident of victory in ward 10. “Their presence may turn the contest triangular in the other two wards though we remain confident of overcoming the challenge by effective campaigning,” said a senior block-level Congress functionary contesting the election.

T.A. Simon, a resident of Pizhala and a Congress sympathiser, however, felt that KSS had popular support. “They were instrumental in the completion of the bridge and they have fielded good candidates,” he said.

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