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Business News/ Elections / Lok Sabha polls: Twenty20—the political party backed by a corporate group to field candidates from 2 seats in Kerala
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Lok Sabha polls: Twenty20—the political party backed by a corporate group to field candidates from 2 seats in Kerala

Kitex Garments-supported Twenty20 party in Kerala has made a foray into the Lok Sabha polls by fielding two candidates this time. The party had a tie-up with Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party but the alliance ended in December 2023.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Three generations of a family, grandmother, mother, and granddaughter show their ink-marked fingers in Rajasthan's Bikaner. (Picture for representative purposes only) (ANI) (DINESH GUPTA)Premium
Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Three generations of a family, grandmother, mother, and granddaughter show their ink-marked fingers in Rajasthan's Bikaner. (Picture for representative purposes only) (ANI) (DINESH GUPTA)

The Lok Sabha elections 2024 are being fought across the country in a high-octane environment. While major political parties and alliances – the ruling National Democratic Alliance and the opposition INDIA bloc – are immersed in an intense battle to woo voters— corporate India is not way far behind. 

Incidentally, many corporate groups recently came under the scanner for contributing donations via the now-defunct electoral bonds to national and state parties, as per the data shared by the State Bank of India on the directions of the Supreme Court

However, there is one fledgling political party which is completely backed by a corporate group. Kitex Garments- backed Twenty20 party in Kerala has made a foray into the Lok Sabha polls by fielding two candidates.

The party's two candidates are Charley Paul from Chalakkudy and Antony Judy from Ernakulam. Kerala’s 20 Lok Sabha constituencies will go to the polls on April 26 during the second phase of elections.

Interestingly, the Twenty20 party's participation in elections is expected to cast a shadow on the prospects of mainstream parties.

ALSO READ: 1 crore electoral bonds make up 96% of donations to political parties — Here's a denomination-wise break down

In the 2021 Assembly polls, Twenty20 received 42,701 votes, (27.56 per cent) in Kunnathunad which led to the defeat of the Congress candidate. 

Party’s track record 

The Twenty20 party is not a completely new political outfit. It is supported by Kitex Group, which is one of the largest producers of children’s garments in the country. 

This party was formed as part of the CSR initiatives of the Kitex Group in Kochi. It forayed into electoral politics through municipal elections and fought polls on the anti-alcohol movement, as it promised to make Kizhakkambalam an alcohol-free village.

During the 2020 Kerala local body elections, the party secured nine seats in Aikkaranadu panchayat, five seats in Kunnathunad and five seats in Mazhuvannur. 

ALSO READ:  ‘Will come back with sir soon…’: Jailed Arvind Kejriwal's wife Sunita says after visiting Prachin Hanuman Mandir

This party had a tie-up with Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party. However, the alliance ended in December 2023 over ideological differences.

Electoral bonds

Interestingly, in the recently released electoral bonds data, it was revealed that Twenty20 had also contributed 25 crore in political funding through the now-defunct electoral bond scheme.

Sabu M Jacob, chairman of Twenty20, clarified that he was ‘forced’ to buy electoral bonds to give contributions to mainstream political parties as it was important for the survival of his business ventures.

He also clarified that he did not receive any undue favours from any political party in return for these contributions. 

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Published: 23 Apr 2024, 11:17 PM IST
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