KL This Week: LDF, UDF Unite in Opposing 'One Nation, One Election' Proposal
Image by R Prakash
NewsClick brings you a round-up of the important happenings across Kerala in the past week, including the United Democratic Front (UDF) retaining the Puthuppally Assembly constituency, the opposition to the 'One Nation, One Election' idea mooted by the Centre, the delay in central grant affecting the midday meal scheme and widespread rain across the state.
UDF RETAINS PUTHUPPALLY WITH RECORD MARGIN
Congress candidate Chandy Oommen, son of former CM minister Oommen Chandy, won the Puthuppally Assembly constituency bypoll with a record margin of 37,719 – defeating Jaick C Thomas, the candidate of the Left Democratic Front (LDF). The UDF and the Congress celebrated the victory with much enthusiasm as the front has been grappling with internal conflicts.
The UDF managed to increase its vote share to 61.38% from 48.08% in the 2021 Assembly elections. The LDF’s share fell from 41.4% to 32.5%, despite its high-pitch campaign. The LDF and CPI(M) were hoping for a change of fortunes in the absence of Oommen Chandy.
The vote share of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saw a heavy decline from 8.87% in the 2021 elections to 5% in the by-elections with its candidate being forced to forfeit the deposit. The BJP had secured 11.93% of the votes in the 2016 Assembly elections, its highest in the constituency.
The state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], M V Govindan, a day prior to the polling, accused the BJP of planning to transfer votes to the Congress candidate in an attempt to defeat the LDF candidate. While the UDF has claimed the election was an assessment of the LDF government, the ruling front cited the sympathy wave leading to the landslide victory of the UDF candidate.
LDF, UDF OPPOSE ‘ONE NATION, ONE ELECTION’
Soon after the Union government led by the BJP announced a panel to study the possibility of one election for the Assemblies in all the states along with Parliament, Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan accused the BJP of imposing the Sangh Parivar agenda. He said such a move would give unrestricted power to the Union government and urged the political parties and people to oppose the move.
The chief minister also said that the move would further destroy the federal structure of the nation and threaten parliamentary democracy.
Ramesh Chennithala, senior Congress leader and former leader of opposition, termed the proposal as impractical and a challenge to federalism.
MIDDAY MEAL SCHEME: DELAY IN GRANT FROM CENTRE
Minister for School Education V Sivankutty accused the Union government of delaying the payment to the state by raising unreasonable queries. The delay has jeopardised the distribution of food to the students of schools in Kerala, as the state government has been unable to mitigate the shortage in funds.
The Union government provides food grains and contributes 60% to the scheme, while the remaining 40% is contributed by the state government. The minister has promised to resolve the issue in the scheme at the earliest.
The minister blamed the Centre for raising questions on accounts despite the state submitting the required details well in time.
WIDESPREAD RAINFALL ACROSS KERALA
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted widespread rainfall across the state for the next five days. The continuous rain has brought much relief from high temperatures and heat waves. The water levels in irrigation and power generation dams have slightly increased, bringing massive relief to the paddy farmers and the electricity board.
Two people were killed when an autorickshaw fell in the Achankovil River in Alappuzha district. Yellow and Orange alerts were issued in 11 districts.
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