Residents’ association forums get divided on political lines in the district

The residents’ association movement in the district is currently a cart drawn by horses in disagreement.

For just about 2,000 residents’ associations, there are seven or eight apex councils — a classic case of too many cooks. And on Tuesday, a new coordination committee was born.

Once upon a time, the residents’ association movement in the district was well-coordinated. It spawned an interactive platform, the first of its kind, between residents’ associations and the city police. The forum called Police Residents Initiative in District Ernakulam (PRIDE) worked for a couple of years before it was axed. The reason: differences in political ideologies of members of the residents’ association’s apex body leading to a vertical split. Ernakulam District Residents Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC) soon got a sparring partner in Resident Apex Council Ernakulam (RACE). When PRIDE ended up being a venue for the two rival groups to square off, the police slowly wound up the meetings held on every second Saturday.

Left, Right and Centre

It has been alleged that EDRAAC was crowded by people from the Left parties, while RACE gave space to leaders from the other end of the political spectrum. At present, there are Thrikkakara Residents Associations Apex Council (TRAAC), Edappally Residents’ Associations Coordination Committee, Tripunthura Rajanagari Union of Residents’ Associations (TRURA), and Confederation of Residents Associations, Aluva (CORAA), to cite some.

“The main idea behind the formation of the Residents’ Associations Coordination Committee Ernakulam is to keep residents association movement apolitical,” said P.R. Padmanabhan Nair, State president of the Save Kerala Movement. A 30-member committee was formed at the meeting held at Ashir Bhavan here, which also elected Benny Joseph of Janapaksham as convenor.

EDRAAC, which is so far the largest of the group, stayed away from Tuesday’s meeting.

“We were asked to present a theme paper at the seminar. However, we refused to participate when they announced that this was going to be a district-level coordination committee meeting of residents associations,” said A. Ajith Kumar, general secretary of EDRAAC.

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