Usha Praveen elected Thrikkakara Chairperson

Surprise victory for first-time councillor

Thrikkakara municipality got its fourth chairperson in as many years on Wednesday with Usha Praveen of the CPI(M) bagging a surprise victory by a margin of a single vote over her Congress party rival Ajitha Thankappan.

With both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) evenly poised with 21 members each, it was predicted that the chairperson would be chosen by draw of lots if everyone followed their respective party scripts. Sheela Charu, Congress councillor, who preceded Ms. Praveen, had been disqualified under the Anti-Defection Law after she defected to become the chairperson with the support of the LDF in December 2018.

Her membership in the council continues under the condition that she will have no voting right.

Party whips were issued to councillors to be present and vote for their candidates. However, E.M. Majeed, Congress party councillor from Vazhakkala, cast his vote but apparently forgot to write his name on the voting slip and sign it. His vote was ruled invalid by the returning officer and the Left front won the advantage of a single vote over its rival. Usha Praveen bagged 21 votes and her rival Ajitha Thankappan 20 votes. K.T. Eldho of the CPI(M) will continue to be the vice-chairman.

Senior Congress party leaders have claimed that Mr. Majeed’s apparent forgetfulness may not be taken for its face value, he being an experienced councillor and a senior party leader in the municipality. But Mr. Majeed dismissed the speculations and allegations of possible money deals and said: “I am a genuine Congressman and mandalam vice-president. Mine was a genuine mistake,” he said after the election process was completed.

At the end of a brief victory celebration, the new chairperson, who is a first-time councillor, promised to do her best to run the municipality efficiently.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 5:47:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/usha-praveen-elected-thrikkakara-chairperson/article29903272.ece

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