Arvind Kejriwal Finds Ally In Kerala - Corporate-Backed Twenty20 Party

Twenty-20 is the CSR wing of Ernakulam based Anna-Kitex group of companies, which entered political fray in 2015. Last year, it won in three neighbouring panchayats and declared its intention to contest the assembly elections.

"Will transform Kerala" with Sabu Jacob, Arvind Kejriwal said.

New Delhi:

Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is trying to gain a foothold in Kerala with an alliance with a tiny party backed by a corporate group. The Twenty 20 gained control of the panchayat in Kerala's Kizhakkambalam seven years ago, winning 17 of the 19 wards.   

The party is the CSR wing of Ernakulam based Anna-Kitex group of companies, which entered political fray in 2015. Last year, it won in three neighbouring panchayats and declared its intention to contest the assembly elections.

 Announcing the alliance, Mr Kejriwal tweeted: "I'm happy to announce an alliance with Kerala's Twenty20 Party. Shri Sabu Jacob (Kitex Group MD and Twenty20 chief coordinator) is a Big Industrialist but he decided to work in a small panchayat. He turned panchayat's Rs 36 lakh deficit to Rs 14 crores FD. Together we will transform Kerala."

"The elections we contested in Delhi -- we did not have money, people or candidates. oter parties had three-time MLAs and four-time MLAs... There was Sheila Dikshit. We had a housewife in Shalimar Bagh. who beat a 4-time MLA. A student, Akhilesh Tripathi from Model Town, beat a four-time MLA," Mr Kejriwal said, declaring himself to be blessed by God in God's own country.  

He also drew a parallel with Punjab, where AAP had duplicated its sweeping victories of Delhi, saying "Do you know who beat Charanjeet Sigh Channi, the Chief Minister? A technician who worked at a mobile shop".     

This, he said, was due to the corruption-free governance with a focus on welfare. He also cited the free power and water, healthcare and education reforms which AAP considers among its biggest achievements.  

Mr Kejriwal's foray into South India comes on the heels of his huge victory in Punjab earlier this year. In the same elections, the party opened its account in Goa and is hoping to find a foothold in Gujarat in the state elections due later this year.

For decades, Kerala has alternated between the Left-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF. But in the last election breaking the tradition of voting out the incumbent, Kerala had given a second term to the Pinarayi Vijayan government. The BJP also has found a toehold in the state with a single seat.

The next election in the state is due in 2015.

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