The internal discord in the Federation of the Residents’ Associations Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) has spilled on to the public domain earlier this week with two committees simultaneously staking claims to authority.

One, accompanied by M.V. Sugathan, who they said was the returning officer for the recent internal election, held a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, saying they comprised the original FRAT leadership.

The first group

This committee was headed by T.K. Bhaskara Panicker as president, Paraniyam Devakumar as general secretary, and S. Satheesachandran Nair as treasurer.

Of these, Mr. Panicker was the only change from the previous committee, Mr. Sugathan said, stating that other groups that had staked a claim to being the ‘original’ committee were lying.

As per FRAT bylaws

The elections, he said, had been held as per FRAT’s bylaws and aided by a valid voters’ list.

Some of the member associations and members had lost their membership due to non-payment of annual fees while some members were disqualified from contesting the elections due to ‘anti-organisational activities’.

Some people who tried to contest the election were not nominated by their own resident associations, which was a primary requisite for eligibility to contest.

However, these people were now misleading the public saying that they were the actual office-bearers, Mr. Sugathan alleged.

Second group

A second group also approached media houses on Thursday, staking their claim to authenticity.

They said the general body had accepted Punchakari G. Raveendran Nair as the returning officer, and as per his decision, the new president was Pattom Sashidharan Nair, while P. Satheesh Kumar was general secretary, and C. Manoharan Nair, the treasurer.

Found guilty

They also alleged that some of those who were now claiming to be the actual office-bearers were found to be guilty by a probe committee of financial irregularities, and that the organisation had decided to keep them away from all activities for three years.

With the two groups claiming simultaneously that they comprised the official leadership of FRAT, unity in one of the largest organisations of residents in the capital city, one that has been in the forefront to take up civic issues on behalf of the city, has been put under a cloud of doubt.