Rebels may dent prospects of major fronts

A few rebel candidates contesting this time might have a support base in their divisions that could impact the prospects of major fronts.

Four candidates contesting as UDF rebels could affect the front’s prospects, said an outgoing Congress councillor who asked not to be named. Both Delina Pinheiro, who is contesting from Pachalam, and Gracy Joseph, contesting from Kaloor South, have a support base that could be a threat to the front, the councillor said. “Mary Prakashan, who is contesting from Mundamveli, had also contested earlier and won by a wide margin, giving her a good chance this time as well,” he added.

The councillor said Ratnamma Raju, who represented Vyttila Janatha in the 2010 council and is contesting as a rebel candidate from the same division, could have the backing of some party workers and supporters in the division.

“Whether they might get a majority is debatable, but they certainly have support,” he said.

Ms. Pinheiro, who was expelled from the Congress recently, is expecting a fourth term as councillor. She won from Pachalam in 2000 and 2010 and will contest again from the division this year, after representing Vaduthala West in the previous council. There were attempts to dissuade her from standing, but she filed her nomination anyway, she said.

“I was told earlier that I would be fielded from the division. But when the party fielded somebody new, I decided to contest independently,” Ms. Ratnamma said.

Gracy Joseph contested from Kaloor South in 2010, wresting the seat from the LDF. She contested from Kathrikadavu in 2015 and won by a margin of over 1,200 votes.

The LDF, too, is not free of rebel candidates. In Panayappilly, Division 8, Jayanthi Premnath, outgoing councillor, is contesting independently. “She had won as a CPI(ML) candidate last time. A win this time outside the party fold is more uncertain,” said an outgoing LDF councillor.

Another senior LDF councillor, however, said rebel candidates who had represented the divisions they were contesting from again, would definitely have support that would take at least a fraction of votes away from the LDF. He refused to name candidates who might have a good chance.

Ms. Premnath had been chairperson of the Kudumbashree Area Development Society (ADS), which has enhanced her support base in the division, a large one of nearly 8,000 voters.

In Division 12, Tharebhagam, Preethy K.H., the outgoing councillor who was also part of the Kudumbashree group in the area, is contesting independently. In 2015, she had contested independently and then backed the LDF in the council.

K.R. Premakumar, outgoing Deputy Mayor, is the UDF candidate who contested from the division. Mr. Premakumar is contesting for the fourth time but is outside of his home turf of divisions 17 and 18, which he had represented before.

Other rebel candidates are also in the fray, including IUML rebel T.K. Ashraf, who is contesting from Kalvathy. Former Mayor K.J. Sohan is contesting from Fort Kochi Veli.

Five Independent candidates won in the 2010 elections, while seven Independents had secured seats in 2015.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 11:07:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/rebels-may-dent-prospects-of-major-fronts/article33179511.ece

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