Confusion over the change of guard at the district panchayat as per a post-poll agreement reached between the ‘I’ and ‘A’ factions of the Congress continues as the district leadership of the party is unable to iron out the differences in the front and take a call on the vice-president post, which is held by the Socialist Janata-Democratic (SJ-D) representative. In the 26-member district panchayat, Congress with 12 members came to power with the support of two SJ (D) members.
As per the agreement, the ‘I’ group representative was to head the panchayat in the first two years and a representative of the ‘A’ group would take over for the remaining period. The posts of chairpersons of various committees were to be reshuffled before May 8. Till now only Ansajitha Ressel, who headed the Health standing panel and one who is considered to be the nominee of ‘A’ faction for the president’s post, submitted resignation.
District panchayat president Remani P. Nair told The Hindu that she would tender resignation only after clear directions from the party. “I submitted my resignation to the District Congress Committee on April 30 but so far I have not been told to hand over the letter to the Panchayat Secretary. I will abide by the party decision,” he said. The key issue was the reluctance of the SJ(D) to adhere to the “agreement” to part with the vice-president’s post, said a Congress member in the district panchayat. “The issue with the SJ(D) has to be settled at the United Democratic Front-level. There are similar understandings between the Congress and the SJ(D) in other local bodies in the State. Now, it is almost certain that a decision will be taken only after the culmination of Kerala Yatra led by the KPCC president,” he said.
Commenting on the standoff, leader of the Opposition in the panchayat, N. Rathindran, said though it was an internal matter of the ruling front the issue had paralysed the functioning of the civic body. Almost a month had passed since the draft of the annual plan was approved by the panchayat committee. Because of the confusion, nothing was done to implement the plan, he said.