Vote of ousted chairperson declared invalid

Joseph Antony of the United Democratic Front (UDF) was on Tuesday elected Chairman of the crisis-ridden Eloor municipality, bringing to a pause the political drama played out in the maiden council for over a month now.

The UDF’s Subaida Noorudeen was elected vice-chairperson at a special council meeting held to choose the executive heads of the less-than-two-year-old municipality.

With this, the Congress-led coalition has been able to retain the local body.

The elections were necessitated by the ouster in a no-trust motion of the newly-formed municipality’s first Chairperson Lissy George a few weeks ago. Following this, then vice-chairperson Shaija Benny came under duress to step down in the face of criticism and a move by the Opposition to vote her out of the post.

In the 31-member council, Joseph Antony secured 15 votes, including that of the independent councillor Subaida Hamsa; LDF candidate M.S. Shibu polled 13 votes even as the BJP, with three councillors, decided to field its own candidates for both posts.

The vice-chairman’s election was more exciting with UDF’s Subaida Noorudeen just about scraping through by a margin of one vote. While Ms. Noorudeen polled 14 votes, LDF’s Germina Venu secured 13 votes.

The vote of Lissy George, the ousted chairperson and UDF councillor, was pronounced invalid. She told The Hindu that her vote was annulled following objections raised by Opposition members about the way the marking was made on the ballot.

Mr. Antony, the new Chairman who was sworn in on Tuesday itself, said his priority would be to tap Central and State funds available for the development of local self-governments under various schemes to better the infrastructure and provide basic amenities to people in the municipality.

“The need of the hour is to adopt a novel path to development to find remedies to vexing issues such as drinking water, electricity supply and waste management. Of these, waste treatment and availability of safe drinking water figure high on the agenda,” Mr. Antony said.

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