Left councillor quits party after panel polls

P.R. Renish, chairperson of the development standing committee of the Kochi Corporation.  

M.H.M. Ashraf, the councillor representing Kochangadi, resigned from the CPI(M) party membership soon after the chairpersons of the standing committees were elected at the Kochi Corporation on Saturday.

Despite resignation from the party, he would continue to back the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the council, said Mr. Ashraf, who was a member of the Mattancherry local committee of the party. He said his resignation was a way of “registering his protest against the party which had not acknowledged his consistent support”. He had contested independently from the same division in 2010 and backed the LDF in the council when he won the seat. This time, he chose to contest as a member of the party. But, the party had neglected him, he said.

He maintained that his resignation was not a consequence of the party selecting J. Sanilmon for the post of chairperson of the town planning standing committee. “The resignation was submitted only after I cast my vote for Mr. Sanilmon in the election and the LDF’s hold over the standing committees was consolidated, though a whip was not issued for the election,” he said.

The LDF had promised chairperson positions to Mr. Sanilmon and T.K. Ashraf, the two Independents whose support took the front’s tally in the 74-member council to 36 seats, over the United Democratic Front’s 32.

In the election to the seat reserved for women in the works standing committee earlier, Mr. Ashraf’s vote was invalid, which gave the UDF a majority in the committee along with the support of the BJP councillors.

In a first in the corporation, a BJP councillor, Priya Prashant, will helm one of the standing committees – the tax appeal committee, to which four out of five BJP councillors were elected.

The LDF will head six standing committees — JD(S) councillor Sheeba Lal will be chairperson of the welfare committee; T.K. Ashraf was elected chairperson of the health committee; P.R. Renish will head the development committee; J. Sanilmon will head the town planning committee; V.A. Sreejith will be chairperson of the education and sports committee; and Deputy Mayor K.A. Ansiya will head the finance committee. RSP councillor Sunitha Dixon is chairperson of the works standing committee, the only committee in which the UDF has a majority.

In an effort to accommodate senior LDF councillors, the chairperson posts of two committees will be divided over the council’s five-year term. In the development committee, Mr. Renish will hold the chairperson’s post for two-and-a-half years, after which CPI councillor C.A. Shakkeer will take the position. In the welfare committee, Ms. Lal is set to be chairperson for two years, after which C.D. Valsalakumari will take her place.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 1:01:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/left-councillor-quits-party-after-panel-polls/article33646556.ece

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