By-poll follows death of LDF councillor

The by-election in the Attipra ward of the city corporation is expected to be held on April 8. It has been learnt that a notification will be issued before March 12. The by-election will be crucial for the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), as it will decide the party’s power to pass major resolutions in the council on its own strength.

Different parties have been spending the last few days deciding their candidate for the ward, which has been reserved for women.

Congress sources told The Hindu that S. Sreekala, district secretary of the Mahila Congress, was tipped to be the party’s candidate. “Ms. Sreekala has a strong influence in the region as she stays nearby and has been active in the social sphere,” he said.

The CPI(M) is expected to announce its candidate soon as it is learnt to have decided its candidate. The BJP is yet to zero in on a candidate.

The by-election became necessary after the LDF councillor M.S. Sangeetha died in November last year. Her death brought down the LDF’s tally in the council, perilously close to that of the combined Opposition, consisting of the UDF, BJP, and an independent.

The LDF had 51 seats in the 100-member council, the UDF 42, and the BJP 6. Added to the mix was an independent councillor.

Following the councillor’s death, the LDF strength was reduced to 50, just one ahead of the combined Opposition’s 49. The party managed to pass council decisions, sometimes even getting the support of BJP councillors.

The Attipra ward had witnessed strong protests from residents, under the banner of the Attipra Janakeeya Samara Samithi, over the draft master plan in which residential areas in the ward had been earmarked for IT-based enterprises. The master plan issue may also have a bearing on the result.