KERALA

Pavithran to head Kalamassery municipality

KOCHI, DEC. 6. The UDF convenor for the Kalamassery Municipal Council N. K. Pavithran, backed by the CPI(M) and EMS Patana Kendram, was elected chairman of the municipality today.

He won by a margin of 21 votes to nine. M. B. Prakash, who quit his post as chairman of the Development Standing Committee today, was Mr. Pavithran's rival and was backed by the district leadership of the party.

Mr. Pavithran was backed by eight CPI (M) councillors and three EMS Patana Kendram members. The lone CMP councillor also backed Mr. Pavithran's candidature. This will be Mr. Pavithran's second term as the chief of the municipal council.

Feuds continue

The election of a new chief for the municipality ends six months of uncertainty over the chairmanship but quarrels within the ruling party continue. Immediately after the election, Mr. Pavithran said he would take action against those who violated his whip that the councillors vote for him since he was the official candidate of the Congress (I) party.

He identified nine councillors, including the former municipal chairman Jamal Manakkadan, for the move. Mr. Pavithran, however, denied knowledge of any move by the District Congress (I) Committee (DCC) to suspend him from the party.

Reports in a section of the media said that Mr. Pavithran was suspended because he failed to attend a meeting called by the DCC (I) on Friday to discuss the issue of the election of the new chairman for the municipality. Mr. Pavithran was among 10 councillors who did not attend the meeting. A reconciliation effort later fell through.

It has also been reported that five more councillors were suspended on Monday as part of the disciplinary action by the DCC (I) chief.

Mr. Pavithran asserted that he was the official whip of the party and the UDF convenor and therefore, the right to issue any official party instruction was his.

Prakash quits

Mr. Prakash resigned from the post of the chairman of the Standing Committee on Development owning responsibility for his vote in the election being invalid. However, he has decided to challenge the councillors who violated his whip that the Congress (I) councillors back him.

The election process began at 11 a. m. and ended in about 45 minutes. All the 33 councillors were present at the conference hall of the municipal office. Three votes were found invalid.

The name of Mr. Pavithran was proposed by Chandrika Padmanabhan and backed by Ravindran Pillai. Mr. Prakash's name was proposed by M. Nandakumar and backed by I. M. Abdul Rahman.

B. Radhakrishnan of the Bureau of Economics and Statistics was the presiding officer.

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