The proposed reshuffle of heads of Standing Committees of the Kochi Corporation will not be a cakewalk for the UDF leadership as Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) leaders are not in favour of power-sharing in the council. They have also denied any agreement on power-sharing in the local body.
DCC president V.J. Poulose has convened a meeting of the UDF partners on Monday to discuss the reshuffle. It was following the persistent demand of the ‘I’ group for sharing of power that the party district leadership decided to convene a meeting of the UDF partners.
Though the mood in the IUML and JD (S) were not in favour of its representatives relinquishing the posts, Kerala Congress (M) leader and UDF district convener M.M. Francis said an understanding on power-sharing was arrived at the UDF meeting.
The district meeting of the front had taken a decision to reshuffle the Standing Committees after two-and-a-half years in office. Though no agreement was made on a stamp paper, the decisions were recorded in the minutes of the meeting. The front partners should abide by the earlier decision on power-sharing, said Mr. Francis.
No one would be able to deny the existence of such a decision as it was recorded in the minutes of the meeting, which was in possession of the district convener, he said.
IUML councillor T.K. Ashraf is the chairman of the Health Standing Committee of the corporation, JD (S) nominee K.J. Sohan is the chairman of the Town Planning Standing committee and Kerala Congress (M) councillor Essy Joseph is the chairperson of the Welfare Standing Committee of the local body.
Responding to the developments, IUML district president Abdul Khader denied the existence of any such agreement.
“No discussions have been held in the party on the issue and the party nominee will not step down from the post,” he said. Augustine Kolenchery, district president of the JD (S), too denied the existence of an agreement on power-sharing. “The party has not taken any decision on the issue. A decision would be taken after the UDF meeting,” he said.
Meanwhile, the UDF partners were unhappy with the way in which the discussions regarding the reshuffle were progressing.
A Standing Committee chairman of the corporation evaluated the situation as the outcome of the inner-party rivalries in the Congress. The Congress leadership should not allow its organisational issues to affect the UDF. The ‘I’ faction in the Congress was functioning as the real opposition in the council. The UDF partners would not be responsible for the issues whipped up by the warring factions of the Congress, he said. Health Standing Committee chairman Mr. Ashraf said the League and the Congress contested the election as front partners.
The Standing Committees were also shared between the front partners when the coalition got majority in the council.
The constituents of the front could not be blamed for the issues created by the rival factions in the Congress, he said.