Vayalkilikal, a collective of local people that spearheaded the agitation against the proposed National Highway bypass through paddy fields, will enter the fray for the Lok Sabha elections, in a attempt to know what electoral impact its agitation could yield.
The Vayalkilikal’s agitation against the bypass, which it feared would destroy paddy fields of Keezhattur, was the rallying point for various activist groups and environmental organisations.
The stir launched by the group, comprising mostly CPI(M) workers in defiance of the party leadership in the district, drew public and media attention. The collective’s decision to field its leader Suresh Keezhattur as its candidate in the Kannur constituency with the slogan ‘Vote for the battle for Environment’ is not driven by any hope that it can tilt the results.
“We are fighting the election as an inquiry and we want to know what is the electoral impact of an environmental agitation in a locality,” said Mr. Keezhattur. He said that the Vayalkilikal knows that it had no role in the political battle as it was launched a stir raising environmental issues. “We are not challenging anyone,” he said.
Asked if he would be active on the campaign front, Mr. Keezhattur said there would be no campaign because literate people needed no campaign to decide their electoral preference.
While the CPI(M) leadership had been openly opposed to the agitation, the Congress was equivocal in its response to the stir.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party had backed the stir unequivocally, though the backing later drew jibes from the CPI(M) when the National Highways Authority of India, under the BJP-led Central government, published the final 3D Notification that vested the identified land with it.
What remains to be seen is what the CPI(M), the Congress and the BJP leaderships would talk about the Vayalkilikal’s agitation during their campaign in the locality.