Chellanam 20/20, started by a group of local people, is aiming at the local body polls which is just months away.

A selfie of members of Chellanam 2020
news Election Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 11:27

Over the years, Chellanam, a coastal village in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, has been in the spotlight for one reason -- coastal erosion. Protests, varying from small to large were staged, voicing their unmet aspirations for a secure seawall for the village and over the years it has now culminated into something which will possibly be a challenge for the political parties in the region. A recently formed people’s group named ‘Chellanam 20/20’, is aiming to contest the upcoming local body polls, to be an alternative to the political parties who have failed to address the issues of Chellanam residents.

The group has been formed inspired by ‘Kizhakkambalam Twenty20’, a corporate social responsibility group of Anna-Kitex Group of Companies, which won the local body polls in Kizhakkambalam panchayat. This is the only non-political firm which runs a local body in the state and probably in the country too.

Though the Chellanam 20/20 has no such backing of corporate groups, the years of disappointment by various parties which have ruled the coastal panchayat, has culminated into a huge support base for the group.

Chellanam 20/20 is aiming at the local body polls which is just months away. Within a few months, the team which kick started by reaching out to people through social media and otherwise, in the past two months, is moving forward organised, creating ward level groups and people’s representatives.

Talking to TNM, Charles Biju aka Pavizham Biju, who initiated the formation of the group, says that the uprising is the result of years long disappointment of people.

“Congress and CPI(M) have ruled alternatively over all these years. People are fed up with the political parties. Our sole demand, construction of a safe sea wall, has not been met. This year, sea erosion was the worst in the past many years. Even people who used to support CPI(M) and Congress have now extended their support to us,” says Biju, who is also the president of Chellanam 20/20.

He also adds that the group is aiming to give people corruption free governance.

Read: Demand to construct seawall: Protest in Kerala’s Chellanam enters 300th day

“We have already selected representatives from each ward. When the Election Commission announces the polls officially, we will also make selected representatives official,” he added.

Notably, representatives are selected to each ward as per the choice of people in that particular ward, says the Biju.

The group also claims that it will only choose educated youngsters as their candidates for the polls.

“Though Chellanam is part of Kochi, this coastal village has not seen any changes since the past many years, except the increasing issue of coastal erosion. There has been no development here. We are overwhelmed and excited to see the response of people,” says Merlin Antony, who is part of Chellanam 20/20.

The group’s ward level committee’s are also working ground level, going from house to house, taking an account of their grievances.

Though the local body polls, which were supposed to be held in November, have been postponed due to the COVID-19 situation, it is sure that Chellanam will be one of the highlights in Kerala’s electoral scenario this time, and it will not be due to coastal erosion.

Read: ‘Trapped between COVID-19 and sea erosion’: Kerala boy writes moving letter to President Kovind

Watch visuals of flood in Chellanam:

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