Row over transfer of two employees

It was a day of hectic action at the City Corporation in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday with a section of Opposition councillors protesting against the Corporation Secretary over the transfer of two employees and a faction of the same Opposition party running a signature campaign against their leader.

Two employees, a Junior Health Inspector and a Bill Collector, from the Vizhinjam Zonal office of the Corporation were transferred two days ago. The Opposition councillors of the UDF alleged that they were given transfer as they were members of their party employees’ union.

Two councillors sat in front of the zonal office through the day demanding the cancellation of the transfer orders. In the afternoon, the protest spilled over into the main office with 27 Opposition councillors and 15 members of their employees’ union protesting in front of the Corporation Secretary’s office.

“This was a clear case of political vendetta by the ruling party. We had planned to conduct the protest in the morning but later shifted it to afternoon. Though the Secretary did not take a supportive stand at first, later he agreed to talk to us and resolve the issue,” said Opposition leader Johnson Joseph.

Unruly scenes were witnessed in front of the Secretary’s office and the police was called in. But, it was resolved amicably with the Secretary agreeing to a meeting to be held at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Mayor K. Chandrika was of the opinion that the transfers were as per the protocol.

Even as Mr. Joseph was leading the protests, the factional feuds between the ‘I’ and ‘A’ groups reached a point where there were chances of him being toppled. A representation signed by 19 of the 33 Congress councillors was submitted to District Congress Committee president K. Mohankumar on Tuesday.

“Four councillors were out of station. Otherwise, the number of signatures would have been 23. The coalition partners have also agreed to support the move. This is a clear indication that the party cannot continue without acknowledging the feeling of a majority of its members. The letter will be handed over to KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala on October 24 after which a decision on leadership change will be taken,” UDF councillor Sudheer Khan said.

Mr. Joseph said he had not heard of any signature campaign and any decision on leadership change should come from the DCC.