The simmering differences between the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the district came out into the open on Tuesday with each side accusing the other of disrupting a meeting convened to discuss urban poverty alleviation programmes taken up by the City Corporation.
Councillors, community organisers, and representatives of community development societies (CDS) participated in the meeting.
At a press conference later in the evening, Mayor K. Chandrika and council party leaders of the LDF and the Bharatiya Janata Party (UDF) said a section of UDF councillors had heckled the speakers and created a scene at the venue. They said the incident was politically motivated.
The UDF members tried to intimidate a CDS chairperson and demanded her ouster. They raised a hue and cry in a bid to disrupt the proceedings, they said.
The Mayor said it was up to the UDF leadership to rein in the councillors who had created a scene at the meeting. Deputy Mayor Happikumar said the incident was a calculated attempt by the UDF to derail the programmes taken up under the Kudumbasree Mission.
Later talking to presspersons, the UDF leaders said the unsavoury episode was an example of the LDF bid for political domination of the Kudumbasree institutional mechanism.
They said the elections to the ADSs (area development societies) under the Kudumbasree network were manipulated to ensure victory only for the members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) outfits.
UDF council party leader Johnson Joseph and K. Maheswaran Nair said the City Corporation's infrastructure was being misused by the societies for political activity. They alleged that the councillors from the 41 UDF-held wards were denied a say in the utilisation of Union government funds for poverty alleviation programmes.
They were answerable to the electorate and any attempt to sideline them would be met with stiff resistance.
The UDF leaders said their councillors were given short shrift at the meeting. They protested when a CDS chairperson started challenging their request for clarification and insulted them.
The row between the two political coalitions is the second one in recent days.
Last week, activists of the two fronts were involved in a fracas at the district panchayat headquarters, resulting in vandalism and destruction of public property.