Oommen Chandy set for smooth sail in Puthuppally

Oommen Chandy, Chairman of the Congress-led UDF, is spearheading the campaign hoping to create history by retaining power in a state.

Puthuppally (Kerala): Notwithstanding various allegations, including solar scam against him, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy seems to be confident of sailing through comfortably in his home constituency of Puthuppally for the 11th time in a row in the May 16 Assembly polls.

29-year-old Jaik C Thomas (CPI-M), the state president of Students Federation of India who is challenging 73-year-old Chandy, does not seem much of a threat to the senior Congress leader, political observers say.

Chandy, Chairman of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), is spearheading the campaign hoping to create history by retaining power in a state where rivals UDF and CPI(M)-led LDF have come to power alternatively in the last three decades.

"I am getting full support of the people. We had come to power with a thin majority of two MLAs. There were even talks that the government will not last for 6 months. Today we have completed 5 years and now the talk is about continuation of this government," Chandy told PTI.

He said he had received unstinted support from his party and UDF partners.

People are going to support UDF for the radical liquor policy which envisages total prohibition in 10 years and various developmental initiatives undertaken during the five-year rule of the UDF government, he said.

Listing out the development projects, including Vizhinjam International Deepwater Seaport, Kannur Airport and Kochi Metro, Chandy said, "People of the state will vote for development rather than the politics of violence pursued by CPI(M) in the state."

The UDF victory in three Assembly byelections, Parliament and civic polls, after this government came to power in 2011, clearly showed that people have rejected the various allegations against his government, he said.

Chandy, who filed his nomination papers today, immediately left for campaigning in the constituency.

A leader, who always draws energy by being in the midst of party workers and people, Chandy was first elected to Assembly from his home segment Puthupally in 1970 when he was a 26-year-old and there has been no looking back ever since.