Prominent rebels giving jitters to parties in Kochi

T.K. Ashraf  

Giving the jitters to fellow party workers and alliance partners, prominent rebel candidates have intensified their campaign for the civic polls despite conciliatory efforts.

A former Mayor and two former corporation standing committee chairpersons are in the fray this time, as a mark of protest against denial of seats.

K.J. Sohan, former Mayor and chairman of the town planing standing committee, has fielded himself as a candidate, protesting against denial of seat to the Lokthanthrik Janatha Dal. “The LDF, while accommodating other front partners, refused to consider the demand of the party. Hence, the decision to contest the election,” said Mr. Sohan, who will contest from Fort Kochi Veli, which he had earlier represented in the corporation council.

“The impact of the decision will not be confined to the division but will be felt in nearby divisions too,” he cautioned.

As the Congress decided not to entertain her application to return to the party fold for the time being, Gracy Joseph, chairperson of the outgoing development standing committee, decided to flex her muscles in Kaloor North, which she once represented.

“The campaign machinery has gone full-throttle, with posters and graffiti appearing in various parts of the division. Now, there is no question of withdrawing from the competition,” said Ms. Joseph.

T.K. Ashraf, Muslim League councillor and former chairperson of the health standing committee, is leading the fight against his party and front partners in the West Kochi zone. While Mr. Ashraf will contest as an Independent from Kalvathy, Naseema Noufel will contest against the League candidate at Mattancherry. Independent candidates will also be in the fray in other divisions contested by the League, asserted Mr. Ashraf.

Delina Pinheiro, the Congress councillor who represented the Vaduthala West division in the last election, has fielded herself from the Pachalam division where she resides.

“Though the Congress denied me ticket and did not assign any reason for its decision, the people of the area wanted me to contest,” said Ms. Pinheiro.

The former councillor said there was tremendous public pressure on her to be in the fray. “Supporters expressed solidarity with me after posters declaring my candidature appeared in the division,” she added.

A few rebel candidates, who cannot script a political win for themselves, could be successful in upsetting the applecart of major political parties.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:13:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/prominent-rebels-giving-jitters-to-parties-in-kochi/article33103454.ece

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