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Rough road for Demolition Man

The road ahead for IAS officer-turned leader KJ Alphons is still full of boulders and rocks, writes Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 16:02 IST

While in Delhi, he demolished tall structures with ease and earned the sobriquet ‘Demolition Man'.

Now in his new role as a CPI(M) candidate, the road ahead for IAS officer-turned leader KJ Alphons is still full of boulders and rocks. He's fighting it out in one of the richest constituencies in the country, Kanjirapally (Kottayam).

Rolling up his sleeves like a hardboiled comrade, he still likes to keep his speeches straight and to the point. "I have good ideas but I don't have tall promises for you," he tells the electorate.

He isn't the easiest person to get along with, probably because he tells it like it is. "Initially, we had some problem," admits CPM worker TA Sainilla. But now, he's one among them.

In his open jeep, he crisscrosses the constituency in a hurry. His scripts isn't the same every where. When he hears his opponent has just passed some "unsavoury comments" about him, he immediately sheds his good boy image.

"They are spreading canards that I only demolished jhuggies in Delhi. I swear I targeted the rich and powerful only during my tenure as DDA commissioner," he says, flaunting a four-page publicity paper penned by him which prominently carries a picture of his wife Sheela, who was injured in an attack carried out by land sharks in the mid-90s.

Despite his high-pitched campaigning, this is no cakewalk for Alphons. He is sandwiched between LDF rebel George Kutty Augusty and Congress strongman Joseph Vazhakkan. And Congress leader PJ Joseph's statement that "Catholics never vote for a Jehovah" weighs heavily on him.

This apart, his opponents are also giving wide publicity to opposition leader VS Achuthanandan's statement last year, in which he blasted Alphons, the then land use commissioner, for "shielding the land-grabbers of Idukki".

The Demolition Man is fast finding out that you can bulldoze your way through easily in bureaucracy but not in politics.

First Published: Apr 10, 2006 15:34 IST