CPI(M) rebel is new Town Planning Committee chief in Kochi Corporation

M.H.M. Ashraf (middle), who was elected as the chairperson of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Vibhu H.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) suffered a setback in the Kochi Corporation council on Tuesday with the election of a rebel CPI(M) councillor as the chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee.

M.H.M. Ashraf, who had earlier won the Kochangadi Division of the Kochi Corporation as a CPI(M) candidate, defeated his former party colleague P.S. Viju to the post of the chairperson in the election held on the day. While Mr. Ashraf got five votes in the nine-member committee, Mr. Viju polled three votes. One seat in the committee fell vacant following the death of CPI(M) councillor K.K. Sivan.

With the victory in the Town Planning Standing committee, two committees of the civic body are now controlled by the United Democratic Front (UDF). The front had earlier won the Works Standing Committee.

Earlier, a no-confidence motion moved by the UDF against J. Sanilmon, chairperson of the committee, was passed. The LDF had supported Mr. Sanilmon, who won the local body election as a UDF rebel candidate, to become the chairperson, which had irked Mr. Ashraf.

Mr. Ashraf had openly aired his protest against the party for sidelining him and not considering him for the post. He had also refused to renew his party membership.

The LDF is likely to move the State Election Commission against Mr. Ashraf for disqualifying him by invoking the Anti-Defection Law.

Mr. Ashraf, according to a statement issued by Antony Kureethara, the leader of the Congress in the council, left the CPI(M) and the LDF protesting against what he termed as the rampant nepotism and corruption. He will associate with the UDF and function as an independent candidate, the statement said.

“The LDF was paying no attention to the issues faced by the city. The corporation suffered heavy loss following the decision of the Mayor for issuing an anticipatory sanction to a company to draw cable along the city roads. All the major roads have developed potholes,” alleged Mr. Kureethara.

More councillors from the LDF who are opposed to the ruling dispensation will leave the front in the coming days, he claimed.

Congress leaders accorded a reception to Mr. Ashraf at the DCC office.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 4:51:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cpim-rebel-is-new-town-planning-committee-chief-in-kochi-corporation/article37521778.ece

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