Staff Reporter

K.P. Sugunan of CPI(M) is the president

KOTTAYAM: With CPI(M) representative K.P. Sugunan of CPI(M) getting elected as the new district panchayat president on Thursday, the administration has once again come into the hands of the Left Democratic Front in the district.

This is his second term and the fourth change of guards at the helm after the last local bodies elections.

In the election held at the district panchayat office on Thursday morning, Mr. Sugunan got 12 votes while his opponent Radha V. Nair (Congress-I) received 11 votes in the 23 member council.

Following the LDF victory, the sitting vice-president Sudha Kurian (of the Congress-I) rendered her resignation, thus avoiding yet another motion of no-confidence.

The LDF came out victorious on the strength of two crucial votes— Biju Kaiparedan (Kerala Congress-J) who again double-crossed to LDF and that of Thomas Kunnappally the rebel Kerala Congress (M) leader whose rebellion had led to the current political crisis.

Mr. Kaiparedan had sided with the UDF to bring down the UDF dispensation during the no-confidence motion on October 6 while Mr. Kunnappally had boycotted the session along with other LDF members.

Both the members voted in favour of the LDF on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Congress (M) has ousted Mr. Kunnappally for his anti- party activities. Kottayam along with Malappuram was among the two districts that had gone the UDF way after the last local bodies’ election.

They had 12 members against the 11 for LDF. However, the political equilibrium turned in favour of the LDF after the by-elections at Kangazha division when an LDF representative got elected. The year-long LDF rule in the district panchayat came to an unpleasant end when the LDF ousted its coalition partner Kerala Congress (Secular).

The KC(S) member changed sides and the political equilibrium once again favoured the UDF.

The current political crisis has its roots in the rebellion in the Kerala Congress (M) when their representative and the then district panchayat president Mr. Kunnappally, refused to step down after six months, as per an earlier agreement among UDF partners.

This had led to prolonged wrangling which came to an end with the ouster of the KC(M) leader by UDF with the help of a LDF member.

With Thursday’s election results, it appears that the Congress(I) who was to hold the presidentship during the next two years, as per the agreement within the UDF, are the losers, that too on account of the wrangling within the Kerala Congress.