Anyone who visits the Sulthan Bathery town will agree that the town is a ‘sultan’ in the State in cleanliness.
Various species of flower plants such as melastoma, lantana, ground orchids, bougainvillea, hibiscus, roses, honeysuckle and ball aralia arranged in more than 9,000 pots on both sides of streets add more charm to the town.
Nobody can find even a single pile of garbage on any small street of the hill town.
While the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the ruling front in the Sulthan Bathery Municipality, is highlighting the core change they made to the municipality in its campaign for the civic body polls, the United Democratic Front is alleging that the beautification was done only in the city, and not in other areas of the municipality.
A traditional stronghold of the Congress, the civic body was captured by the LDF in the first municipal election in 2015 with the support of the Kerala Congress (M) after 30 years. Of the 35 seats, both the fronts won 17 seats each and the BJP won one seat. “We are approaching voters highlighting development projects implemented in the municipality apart from the town beautification, and making it the first non-spitting zone in the State,” says C.K. Sahadevan , the first chairman of the civic body.
However, N.M. Vijayan, former Sulthan Bathery grama panchayat president and municipal councillor, claims that the developments, including the town beatification, was materialised with the fund provided by the UDF MLA. The basic infrastructure for the developments was made by the UDF during its tenure, Mr. Vijayan says adding that development was confined to only the beautification of the town. “The CPI(M)-led council did nothing to improve basic infrastructure in rural areas. It also failed to launch the multi-crore solid waste treatment plant in the municipality and construct overbridges for pedestrians,” he says. The UDF hopes that the anti-incumbency factor may turn the tide in their favour. However, the CPI(M) remains confident of retaining power.
“The BJP was in second position in four divisions in the last poll,” says Prasanth Malavayal, district general secretary of the party. The party has fielded 20 candidates in the polls this time.