KOCHI: After two days of uncertainty, the Congress leadership on Thursday elected former Development Standing Committee chairman and ‘A’ group leader Jessy Peter as chairperson of the Kalamassery municipality. The election was put off on Wednesday due to shortage of quorum. Jessy was sworn in by Economics and Statistics deputy director Sincimol Antony.
Jessy received 27 votes in the 42-member council, to defeat LDF’s Henny Baby, who polled 15 votes. Surprisingly, the four independent candidates also voted in favour of Jessy. Meanwhile, UDF’s T S Aboobakar sworn in as deputy chairperson, after willing the election on a similar margin. The UDF has 23 councillors in the council - 13 of the ‘I’ group and five each of the ‘A’ group and the Muslim League.
Though the election was held smoothly, the scene at the municipality office was chaotic in the morning, with ‘I’ group leaders struggling to decide between Jamal Manakkadan’s wife Rukiya Jamal and Jessy Peter, whose candidature was in conformity with KPCC guidelines.
It was just minutes before the election that the ‘I’ group leaders decided to support Jessy Peter, though they had received a whip from the DCC on Wednesday late night to vote in favour of Jessy. Later, ‘I’ group members marked their protest by boycotting the oath-taking ceremony, along with two independent councillors. Rukiya Jamal left the council hall without contesting the election.