Corporation standing panel chiefs leave LDF red-faced

The ruling LDF in the Kochi Corporation has found itself on a sticky wicket after being forced to accommodate two of its standing committee chairmen, who openly campaigned against the CPI(M) candidate in the Kochi constituency in the Assembly polls.

Health standing committee chairman T.K. Ashraf and town planning standing committee chairman J. Sanilmon, who are part of the LDF regime, embarrassed the ruling coalition after they campaigned for Tony Chammany, UDF candidate and former Mayor. The duo led the campaign against K.J. Maxy, sitting MLA and CPI(M) candidate from the constituency, alleging that the legislator had failed to address the development needs of West Kochi, especially Mattanchery.

Mr. Ashraf and Mr. Sanilmon, who enjoy popular support in their respective divisions, had won the civic polls as Independent candidates after breaking away from the Indian Union Muslim League and the Congress respectively.

Every vote counts in the constituency, which Mr. Maxy had won by a margin of just 1,086 votes in 2016, and it is to be seen how far the two local leaders could influence the poll outcome in Kochi.

Despite campaigning against its candidate, the CPI(M)-led coalition in the corporation council could not act against the two councillors, as their support was inevitable for the party to continue in power.

The LDF, which has 34 members in the council, returned to power after a gap of 10 years by roping in Mr. Ashraf and Mr. Sanilmon and making them chairmen of health and town planning standing committees.

“We decided to campaign for the UDF in Kochi, as Mr. Maxy had failed to address issues that required his attention,” said Mr. Ashraf.

The legislator could not find a solution to drinking water shortage, lack of transport facilities, and other pressing needs of the West Kochi area. However, the CPI(M)-led civic administration had been addressing the development needs of the city in an effective manner. Hence the support for the LDF in the council, explained Mr. Ashraf.

Mr. Sanilmon said the people of Kochi constituency longed for a change, and that Mr. Chammany was the ideal choice.

“I will continue to support the LDF in the council for its good work and till the front needs my backing,” he said.


Responding to the developments, Mayor M. Anilkumar said there was no question of political embarrassment, as the duo were elected as Independent candidates, who could take any political decision of their choice.

Though Mr. Asharaf’s support was sought for Mr. Maxy, he refused to budge. However, he pledged his support for the LDF for a stable civic administration, Mr. Anilkumar said.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 8:45:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/corporation-standing-panel-chiefs-leave-ldf-red-faced/article34306826.ece

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