UDF bastion rocked in Central Travancore

on May 16th, 2011 and filed under Columns, Features, Opinions.


The Central Travancore district of Pathanamthitta, hitherto considered to be a traditional United Democratic Front bastion, has been badly rocked by the Communist Party of India(Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front in the just-concluded Assembly polls.

LDF has bagged three of the five Assembly seats in the district, giving a drubbing to both Congress(I) and Kerala Congress(M).

Denial of KC(M) ticket to the party general secretary Joseph M.Puthusserry, MLA, has not only evoked protests from various UDF quarters in Thiruvalla but also antagonized the Malankara Orthodox Church which has got strong presence in the constituency.

Mr. Puthusserry was the sitting MLA of Kallooppara Assembly segment, portions of which have been annexed to the Thiruvalla Assembly segment following the recent delimitation exercise.

Many UDF quarters were of the opinion that KC(M) could have effectively countered the popular, corruption-free image of the LDF candidate and former Transport Minister, Mathew T.Thomas of Janata Dal(S) in Thiruvalla by fielding Mr. Puthusserry who too had proved his mettle as Kallooppara MLA for a period of 15 years against the former.

Mr. Mani’s decision to field Mr Victor T.Thomas, who was defeated by Mr. Thomas in the previous Assembly polls, for a second time in Thiruvalla had evoked strong protests among the party workers too.

Church stand

Meanwhile, antagonising the Malankara Orthodox Church, following denial of ticket to Mr Puthusserry who is a pet member of the Church, had made many highly placed Church quarters openly campaigning for the defeat of the UDF candidate in Thiruvalla.

There were reports of a section of the clergy and even a few bishops attached to the Church secretly campaigning against UDF in Thiruvalla and certain other constituencies in Central Travancore, protesting against the alleged sidelining of the Church’s interests by KC(M) and Congress(I).

Psephologists are of the opinion that the victory of Mr Mathew T.Thomas over his UDF rival by a margin of 10,767 votes in the just concluded polls was a clear indicator of the largescale public resentment against the decision taken by the KC(M) supremo, K.M.Mani in the selection of candidate for Thiruvalla.

It is noteworthy that Mr Anto Antony of Congress(I) could secure a lead of 15,459 votes from Thiruvalla alone in the 2010 Lok Sabha elections.

UDF defeat in Ranni, Adoor

Psephologists also attribute the defeat of UDF candidates in Ranni and Adoor also to the vehement stand adopted by the Church against it.

Mr Peelipose Thomas of Congress(I) has been defeated by Mr Raju Abraham of CPI(M) by a margin of 6614 votes.

In Adoor, Pandalam Sudhakaran, former minister and Congress(I) candidate, was defeated by Mr Chittayam Gopakumar of CPI by a margin of 607 votes.

Mr Puthusserry’s absence on the UDF campaign front and the studied silence of certain UDF quarters in Mallappally, Kallooppara, Anicaud, Kunnamthanam and Puramattom panchayats was, ofcourse, a matter of concern to the UDF in Thiruvalla.

Source: The Hindu
RADHAKRISHNAN KUTTOOR
PATHANAMTHITTA, May 13, 2011

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7 Responses for “UDF bastion rocked in Central Travancore”

  1. joble george says:

    The marginalisation of the Orthodox Church that has taken place is not a recent phenomenon but has been in the making for several decades.It is because of the spineless stand of the church leadership which has been thoughtlessly leading the church members to support the UDF for several elections.Look at the Catholic church and the Damascus faction .They select and encourage leaders to gain places in both the fronts so that their intrests will be served at the appropriate time.The best examples are Saju Paul,Raju Abraham,T M Jacob for the Damascus Sangh ,and James Mathew,P J Joseph and Mathai Chacko for the Catholics.However in the case of Orthodox church they adopt the stand that the church should be kept away from the democratic process.It is funny how the Nairs got to contest constituencies like Kottayam,Chengannoor,Haripad,Kayamkulam,Ambalapuzha,Kollam etc.Even so called relative of the church R Balakrishna Pillai did not consider the case when the “vacancy’ arose in Kottarakkara.
    It is a fundamental rule in Kerala politics that a community get to contest and win in a constituency with around 35000 votes.(approx strength of a constituency is1650000.75% of it is 1230000. 46% of it is 57000.Other community votes and political votes will make up the around 20000 votes that the candidate gets to win. It is only in the case of Orthodox church that this rule is not followed.
    Why is that our church does not get to contest constituencies like Kunnamkulam,Kottayam,Thiruvalla,Aranmula ,Ranny,and Chengannur where we have more than 50000 votes ?Why no Kayamkulam, Harippad,Pathanapuram,Punalur,Kottarakkara where our numbers range between 25000 to 40000.The constituencies of Adoor and Mavelikkara are excluded because they are reserved for SC CANDIDATES but here also our votes are more than 35000.
    Now look at how the Roman and Damascus churches tackle this.PP Thankachan was told in no uncertain terms that he should not contest from Perumbavoor.The Catholic church increased its bagaining power by unifying the KC groups .It came to such an extent that catholics who make up less than 10% of the population in Kannur got to contest 6 seats in Kannur ..and won 2.Same is the case in Idukki.Any attempt to change the existing seat pattern is stoutly resisted.So much so that catholics who make up less than 30% of the population in Idukki got to contest 4 of the 5 seats in Idukki.(The 5th one could not be given because Devikulam was a reserved seat !)
    A disturbing aspect of the election as far as the Orthodox church is the lack of good political leaders who can win in any of the constituencies listed above.In search of academic degrees which supposedly fetch good value outside the state and the country,youth of our community are hesitant to take up politics and parents forbid it too.So except one Chandy Oommen next generation of orthodox christians may havenone to represent them in politics.It can be disastrous in a miieu where resources are limited and all communities are clamouring for it.The church leadership must urgently consider the situation and take remedial action

  2. I doubt that the Orthodox factor is the reason for the defeat of the UDF candidates in Pathanamthitta District. Many cliam that at Thiruvalla Victor Thomas is feafeated by the Orthoodx people. If so why couldn’t we defeat Mammen Mathais wife at the by election when few of our bishops openly did propaganda against the candidate and some of our priests visited houses to defeat the Candidate. It is some political facotors that gained the UDF a less glamourous victory. Mainly in Kayamkulam, Adoor, Thiruvalla ,Ranny, it is the UDF people who defeated the UDF candidates due to internal politics.

    Also while for the LDF there was only one CM candidate while no body in the UDF were dare to say the name of one leader. Many people gossiped the names of Vayalar Ravi,Ramesh Chennithala,Oommen Chandy VM Sudheeran etc for the post of CM. There weere personal agendas when the Indian National Congress candidates contested. But for the LDF they stood for the party. This is clear in the defeat of Mr M. Murali in Kayamkulam and narrow margin for Ramesh Chennithala in Harippad. In Adoor Pandalam sudhakaran got less votes from the Pandalam panchayath were he is from.

    Even though we couldnt deafeat a candidate we have influence in many constituencies.We made a good impact that we influenced the election. That is for the benefit of the Church.

    I believe we should not cry for some orthoodx MLAS or MPS. It is not right to be an MLA or MP or minister only because of the factor that he/she belongs to a certain denomination. But we should help real orthodox supportores to grow in poilitics. Further I dont believe some of the names mentioned for ML posts didnt do much for the church. First before supporting some body as our candidates ,we should see if they identify as our candidate. I believe many won’t

  3. Mathew says:

    Dear Abraham, I am not against the churches but against the faulty decisions taken by bishops, they have their own hidden agenda. I would say that the Bishops are not even have consideration to the common church members,the best example is When an Orthodox Xi’an candidate tries for a job in our school or colleges is the church giving them an opportunity without getting donation in lakhs?.The worst part is I saw an interview in Asianet with our His Holiness Catholicos and there was a similar question and His Holiness Catholicos was denying the fact that we are not collecting any donation for the appointments in colleges. They will preach something and do something and I really feel sad to say that this make us to lose the respect to those holy chairs about their credibility. I knew personally that lot of church members even saw that interview and had discussed the same. A request to editor please publishes this to avoid those kinds of big mistakes in the future.

  4. Abraham says:

    @Mathew

    UDF also miserably lost, in Orthodox belts like Mavelikara, Thirualla, Adoor, Ranni, Places in Kollam Dist etc.

    Chengannur has a very capable UDF candidate, Vishwanath, he is a regular at almost all Orthodox Functions.. I would still have voted for Vishwanth, who will be more handy for the church than Shobana. ( Which almost everyone in Chengannur area knows)

    And in Kottayam dist; church, does not have a command in all places. In puthpally we wanted Oommen Chandy to win, and he had a first-rate victory.

    Agree with Mr. Oommen that Shobana George is not of much use to the Church, ( everyone knows that), Puthusheri atleast by seeing the command the church has in our strongholds, might think different from now on.

  5. Mathew says:

    I totally agree with Oommen G Panicker. So in the end UDF is into power and after doing all these to UDF by the church, I strongly insist on no to do any favour to the church by the UDF.Joseph M was elected as MLA for couple of times and atleast this year he should have not opted for that. I would like to ask Thomas kuttikandathil what disaster has happened to UDF, UDF won in majority of the Orthodox belts like Chengannur, Aranmula, Kottayam etc and UDF is into power.

  6. Mr. Joseph M. Puthusheri and Mrs. Shobhana George are NO real friends of Orthodox Church and they are lacking backbone and guts!

    Having denied tickets by UDF, they should have shown the courage to contest the election as Independent candidates for the sake of Orthodox Church!

  7. Hope that the UDF will be more care full in selecting their candidates in the future
    and they will open their eyes due to the disaster they experienced in the citadels
    of the Orthodox church.

    Also see the report by the’Janmabhoomi ‘ and a statement by Victor Thomas in Mangalam which are available in the Orthodox T.V.

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