ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Alignments

New Alignments

members of corpbrations. One of the most significant aspects of this election is' that for the first time in the history of our country, 18-year-olds will fce exercising their franchise, thanks to' legation eiiuctedwhen A K Antony was Chief minister. They constitute nearly 20 per cent of the electorate. In all, there are about 35,000 candidates for the nearly 10,000 seats. Elections will he held in two phases, on September 15' and 18, ' There is a serious allegation that in delimiting the seats, the Ruling Front Partners had chalked out many safe seats and split up many of the sure CPI(M) seats. Besides, Muslim commiunalism has played havoc in the delimitation, the concerned minister being a Muslim Leaguer. A glaring example is the Erattupettah panchayat' in Kottayam district. There are 11 seats in this panchayat of which one has been reserved for scheduled castes. All the other 10 seats have been delimited in Mich a, way that each ward has a muslim-majority voter-strength. ' The Ruling Front had announced that it would fight the elections to the local bodies on a non-party basis and that it would -strivefor partyless democracy at the grass-roots level. This was -not a matter of new-found devotion to Gandhian idealism hut acceptance of the stark reality existing within the Ruling Front. It was evident From the results of the bye-' elections that in the event of a triangular contest the Marxist Front would sweep the polls. In the circumstances, every party in the Ruling Front was looking tor alliance with parties outside the front to better its own prospects. The CPI thought that the partyless label would help the Ruling Front to secure an alliance with the Congress(I) and the NDP and thus enable: the revival of the anti-CPI(M) front.: The Kerala Congress and the Ruling Muslim League were also for such an understanding. But the Con-

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