'A silent battle'

N. VENUGOPAL, one of the most vociferous councillors in the Kochi Corporation, is a silent man at Corporation council meetings these days.

Though vocal against the rival factions in the State unit of the Congress, Mr. Venugopal refuses to take part in the council proceedings following the intensifying of the factional fight in the Congress. After the Ernakulam parliament by-poll, where the strategy of the `I' faction "had proved successful", Mr. Venugopal is focussing his attention on the Tiruvalla bypoll where the faction is bent on defeating the UDF candidate.

Though present at council meetings, Mr. Venugopal leaves the council hall after spending some time talking to his loyalists.

Last week, a relaxed Venugopal was seen silently `observing' the war of words between the Congress councillors and the Mayor, without bothering to interfere in the proceedings.

Some define his silence as an indication of the "gravitation of the `I' faction towards the Left". Yet another section believes that it was the coup that took place in the Congress council party that had silenced the councillor. All the factions opposed to Mr. Venugopal and the `I' group had removed him from the post of council party leader. They had handed over a signed letter of support from 21 councillors declaring the election of A.B. Sabu as the UDF council leader.

By Sudhi K S