LDF now has 50 seats in 100-member council, two from RSP

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) at the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has plunged into a deep crisis with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) deciding to leave the LDF over difference of opinion over the Left candidate in the Kollam constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Though it might not immediately lose power, the front is facing a situation where it can do precious little in the council without the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which finds itself in a commanding position with just six councillors.

“The prominence of the BJP has certainly increased in the council as the ruling party cannot pass anything without our support. We will probably take an issue-based approach,” said P. Ashok Kumar of the BJP.

The LDF, which currently has 50 seats in the 100-member council, has two councillors from the RSP — P. Shyamkumar from the Kuravankonam ward and B. Shruthi from the Pettah ward. The Left coalition will be left with 48 seats, one less that the combined strength of the Opposition, comprising 42 councillors of the United Democratic Front (UDF), six of the BJP, and an independent councillor.

The upcoming by-election to the Attipra ward, which became necessary after the LDF’s sitting councillor M.S. Sangeetha passed away in November last, will also be crucial. In case the LDF loses this election, its seats will slip further to 47, which will make it hard for the front to continue at the top.

When The Hindu contacted Mr. Shyamkumar, he said the RSP councillors’ stand on the issue depended on the decision of the party’s district committee.

‘Decision at local level’

“Following the decision to leave the coalition, all the district committees have been asked to take their own decisions whether to continue in the coalition at the local level. A meeting of the Thiruvananthapuram district committee will be convened on Monday. We will abide by the decision taken by the party,” said Mr. Shyamkumar, who is also the chairman of the Tax Appeals Standing Committee of the local body.

The UDF council party leader Johnson Joseph said a decision on the matter would be taken only after consulting the District Congress Committee (DCC).

If the UDF moves a no-confidence motion, the LDF can survive only with the support of the BJP. But Congress sources told The Hindu that the party was unlikely to make any such move at least until the general elections were over.

Standing committees

The UDF, though, is all set to wrest the control of two standing committees from the ruling front — those of education and tax appeals.

In both committees, the LDF has a majority of only one. Mr. Shyamkumar is the chairman of the tax appeals committee whereas Ms. Shruthi is a member of the education committee.