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Is 'Twenty-Twenty' turning into a major political force in Kerala?
Thiruvananthapuram, February 7, 2021
Twenty-Twenty, a political formation floated by the Anna-Kitex Group, one of the leading industrial groups in Kerala, is sending shivers down the spine of the organised political outfits in the state following its huge victories in the recent local body polls.
In the local body polls held last year, Twenty-Twenty retained the Kizhakkambalam gram panchayat besides wresting Aikkarandu, Kunnathunadu and Mazhuvannur local bodies with clear majority, defeating both the LDF and the UDF. The results came as a major surprise in a politically vibrant state like Kerala, which had elected the first Communist government in the world through ballot way back in 1957.
Twenty-Twenty, which was floated as the corporate social responsibility (CSR) wing of the Anna-Kitex Group, created history with these historic victories in a state which boasts of political vibrancy.
The CPM and the Congress had recently blocked the chief coordinator of Twenty-Twenty from attending a panchayat meeting in Airkkaranadu where he was invited as a special resource person by the gram panchayat authorities.
Workers of the CPM and the Congress did not allow Sabu M. Jacob entry into the meeting premises, creating a ruckus between the cadres of these two parties and those belonging to the Twenty-Twenty.
Twenty-Twenty has also won two district panchayat seats and 10 block panchayat seats in the last local body elections, aiming for higher positions in the ensuing Assembly elections in the state. The group is preparing to contest several seats in the Ernakulam district.
Twenty-Twenty and Jacob have been a source of support for the people of Kizhakkambalam, turning the panchayat into a model one. The outfit has a food supermarket which provides essentials to the people at 50 per cent of the market price. It has re-constructed dilapidated houses in the Kizhakkambalam gram panchayat, besides constructing a colony for the poor and the deprived.
Jacob, the chief coordinator of Twenty-Twenty, told IANS, "The results of the local body elections were overwhelming and we will be contesting the Assembly elections depending on the people's demand. In politics, people generally run after money, power and position but as far as we are concerned, people know that we don't want all these. We don't have any interest except the welfare of the people and that has helped the organisation grow. We are commencing our social media campaign from Sunday onwards and will decide where all we will contest depending on the public demand."
He added, "To begin with, we will contest from the Ernakulam district. We are confident of repeating our performance in the local body polls."
Roy Mathew, political analyst and former editor of Surya TV, told IANS, "Twenty Twenty had shocked Kerala by winning a gram panchayat in 2015. Now they have won three more panchayats, 10 block panchayata and two district panchayats. Several such groupings have come up in many parts of the state and the 2021 Assembly elections will see several political undercurrents and Twenty-Twenty will be one such."