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Backwards ditch Left in Kerala

Ezhava leader Vellapally Natesan has a decisive say on the prospects of many candidates. Ramesh Babu reports.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 14:50 IST

On National Highway 47, some 35 km from Kochi, all roads lead to the residence of Kerala's prominent backward class Ezhava leader Vellapally Natesan.

Once saddled with an umpteen number of police cases, this former liquor baron has a decisive say on the prospects of many candidates in Kerala's Assembly elections.

Natesan said he will work to ensure the defeat of the Congress in Kerala, which had doled out education institutions to the upper caste Nairs and Christians.

"All candidates who had stood against the interest of the backward Ezhava community would bite the dust this time. What has my community gained under the UDF regime?" said Natesan at his residence at Kanichukulangara, a favorite haunt of the politicians.

Ezhavas have been the mainstay of the Left in Kerala but in recent elections their support had swung between the Left and the Congress-led United Democratic Front. However, there's no doubt this time around.

"I've instructed all 52,000 self-help groups propped up by the SNDP to vote for the Left. We'll make the critical difference this time", said Natesan, even as he discussed the prospects of the local BJP candidate.