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109 candidates elected unopposed

Special Correspondent

CPI(M) wins unopposed in 87 local body wards

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPI(M) candidates have won unopposed in 87 local body wards in the State, according to the final data relating to the civic polls released by the State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday.

The total number of candidates elected unopposed is 109. Seven of them belong to the CPI, six to the Indian Union Muslim League and two to the Congress. One each belongs to the Janata Dal and the Democratic India Congress (Karunakaran). The remaining five are independents. Seventy-nine of the unopposed victories have come from grama panchayats. Of these, the CPI(M) got 66, the CPI seven, the Janata Dal and the DIC-K one each and independents four.

Of the remaining 30 unopposed victories, 23 are in municipal wards and seven in block panchayat wards.

The tendency not to oppose turned out to be strongest in Kannur district, where 59 candidates had no rivals. In Kasaragode district too this tendency was quite noticeable, with 21 wards having only one candidate each as a contestant. The SEC said that, in all, 64,159 candidates were left in the fray when the time for withdrawing the nominations expired on Friday. According to the final tally, 1,087 of them are in district panchayats, 5,946 in block panchayats and 50,575 in grama panchayats. As many as 1,266 candidates are contesting in the city corporations: Thiruvananthapuram 383, Kollam 245, Kochi 257, Thrissur 180 and Kozhikode 201. The 52 municipalities in the State have 5,285 candidates contesting.

CPI(ML) candidates

The CPI(ML) is all set to field over 100 candidates in the civic polls in the State, the party's State secretary K. Sivaraman said here on Saturday at a press conference. Mr. Sivaraman said the party would support candidates representing the interests of the Dalits, adivasis, women and other oppressed sections of society in wards where it had not fielded candidates.

The CPI(ML) would also associate with parties such as the SUCI and the Janakeeya Vedi led by the former CITU leader V.B. Cherian in the elections.

He said the real issue in the elections was how the LDF, the UDF and the BJP were competing with one another in turning the local bodies into a tool for global agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to implement their agenda in the villages of the State.

The Plachimada incident, which exposed how a multinational company like the Coca-Cola was allowed to exploit the water resources of a village with the support of the Government and the court sidelining the Local Self-Government, showed how insincere the established political parties in the State were in their approach to decentralisation, Mr. Sivaraman said.

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