Kerala Local Body Election 2020 dates, schedule: 3 way fight between LDF-UDF-BJP explained
Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 07: The Kerala Local Body Election 2020 dates have been announced by the state election commission. The three-tier local body system election will be held in three phases in December.
The day of polling for the first phase is on December 8, while the second and third phases will be conducted on December 14. The votes would be counted on December 16.
The polls were originally scheduled to be held in October as the tenure of the elected representatives would have come to an end on November 12. However, due to an alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the elections were postponed. After consulting with the heads of political parties, the election commission decided to postpone the elections.
Kerala Local Body Election 2020 dates, schedule:
On December 8, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki districts will go to polls. Ernakulam, Kottayam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad districts will go to polls on December 10 in the second phase, while on December 14, districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod in northern Kerala will go to polls. Counting of votes will take place on December 16.
All COVID-19 protocols will be followed by usage of masks, sanitisers and maintaining physical distancing at polling stations, V Bhaskaran, the state election commissioner said.
There are a total of 2.71 crore voters, who are eligible to vote across the 34,744 polling stations. All expenses for the safety equipment will be borne by the election commission.
In all there are 1,200 self-government institutions that have been categorised into village panchayats, block panchayats, district panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations across 14 districts.
The elections in December would however held to 1,199 local bodies as the tenure of the Mattannur Municipal Council follows a different calendar. 15,962 wards in 941 village panchayats, 2,080 seats in 152 block panchayats, 331 seats in 14 district panchayats, 3,078 wards in 86 municipalities and 441 wards in six municipal corporations will face the elections.
The CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Congress-led, United Democratic Front (UDF) and BJP led National Democratic Alliance are in the fray. The party coalition with the majority of the seats in the council gets to government the body and also nominates its choice of president/vice-president/mayor.
There are many independents too who win the elections. In case of a hung verdict, leadership posts are shared between the ruling and opposition parties.
In 2009, the Kerala Assembly passed a landmark bill allowing 50 per cent of the seats in the institutions to be reserved for women. Every five years, the reserved seat as the as the women only posts for presidents rotate. Seats are also reserved for SC/ST category.
In the 2015 elections, the CPM led LDF won and took control of 551 of the 941 village panchayats, 42 of the 86 municipalities, 7 of the 14 district panchayats, 88 of the 152 block panchayats and 4 of the 6 corporations.
The UDF rules 362 panchayats, 7 district panchayats, 2 corporations, 40 municipalities and 63 block panchayats. The BJP came to power only in 14 panchayats and 1 municipality.
Battles to watch out for:
This time all eyes are on the 100 seat Thiruvananthapuram municipal corporation. In 2015, it witnessed a triangular fight between the LDF, UDF and BJP. The BJP surprised all by winning 34 of the 100 seats, followed by the LDF with 42. The UDF came third with 21 seats.
All eyes this time would be on the BJP and if it manages to win, then it would be a huge boost for the party, which has been seeking to get its foothold firmly in Kerala. The other contest to watch out for is the Thrissur corporation. The LDF and UDF fought a close battle. In the Palakkad municipality, the one that the BJP controls will also be keenly watched.
Which way will the wind blow:
The results are important as it would suggest which way the political winds are blowing ahead of the crucial assembly elections to be held five months from now. In the years 2012 and 2015, the coalition that won a majority of the local bodies have gone on to win the assembly elections.
This time the LDF has the edge as it has been lauded for the manner in which its government handled the floods as well as the pandemic. However, it would find itself on the back-foot, if the Kerala Gold Smuggling case were to become a poll issue.
The UDF finds itself on the back-foot due to the lack of charismatic leaders and rampant factionalism within. For the BJP it would be all about bettering its earlier performance.