Spartan soldier key to Ponnani
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Spartan soldier key to Ponnani

Though a former soldier of the Nizam of H'bad, Paloli M Kutty isn't a exactly a war horse, writes Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 14:12 IST

Though a former soldier of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Paloli Mohammed Kutty isn't a exactly a war horse.

That was how the party projected non-controversial LDF convener as its chief ministerial candidate, when two politburo members -- party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and leader of the Opposition in the state assembly VS Achuthanandan — flexed their muscles. Subsequent drama and action notwithstanding, he still has a chance to wear the crown.

Known for his impeccable personality and spartan lifestyle, the former local self-government minister is an ideal choice for the party rank and file. The septuagenarian stands tall among the power-hungry lot.

But the chink in his armour could well be Pinarayi Vijayan, state secretary, with whom he shares a close relationship. Because of his clean image, he could be easily remote-controlled, his detractors swear.

History speaks for itself. When he was the local administration minister in the Nayanar cabinet, he gave a free hand to the then planning board deputy chairman Dr Thomas Issac to implement the party's pet theme — people's planning.

When Achuthanandan questioned the foreign funding for the 'people's planning' scheme, he stood behind Issac.

This is what made him so dear to reformists. As long as they call the shots, Paloi has a chance.

The last minute changes in the party policy that it would decide its chief minister only after the elections, hasn't gone down well with the cadres in Ponnani, where the veteran is trying his luck.

It is a fact that it took some time for them to remove the "Vote for your CM" hoardings. "I am only a candidate, not a CM candidate," he says.

"The five-year UDF misrule is our election fodder," he rattles off in his quickfire Malappuram dialect as he fields embarrassing posers with dexterity.

Through his candidature, the party hopes to consolidate its position in the Muslim heartland of Malappuram and neighbouring districts.

But he is more identified with his ideology than his community, which constitutes 24.4 per cent of the state's electorate. With his "CM aspirant tag" it may be easy in the first round.

But going by the recent sound and fury, it may not be smooth thereafter.

Paloli M Kutty’s impeccable track record and spartan lifestyle makes him the perfect choice for the chief minister’s post.

As local local administration minister in the Nayanar cabinet, implemented the party's pet theme — people’s planning.

First Published: Apr 06, 2006 14:06 IST