KOCHI: It seems the probable Mayor candidates of both fronts are up for a tough fight in the upcoming local body polls. All the Mayor probables, including Usha Praveen of LDF and Soumini Jain of UDF, are fielded in divisions which are not strongholds of the respective fronts.
According to statistics, Ravipuram division traditionally leans towards the UDF and from here Usha Praveen, daughter of former Chief Minister E K Nayanar, is seeking a mandate. Over the last four terms, Ravipuram has been an UDF fort, from where Saumini, the outgoing Works Standing Committee chairperson and the candidate of Elamkulam for the UDF, had trounced LDF candidate Lalitha Unnikrishnan for over 200 votes in the 2010 local body election. However, CPM believes that the trend has changed over these years and Usha will get a boost as the daughter of E K Nayanar to mark victory from this division.
For Saumini, the Elamkulam division is a tough choice as the division has been an LDF fort since 1990. In the 2010 polls, out of 5,711 votes, only 3,800 were polled, of which 1,286 went to LDF candidate Sojan Antony and his strong opponent, Tamil Nadu former Chief Secretary P C Cyriac, who contested as an independent candidate, could bag only 1,017 votes. UDF candidate A V Xavier of Kerala Congress(J) only managed to secure just 566 votes. However, UDF is confident of Saumini’s win from the division.
Besides Usha Praveen, Poornima Narayan, who came through SFI and also University Union Council; Monamma Kokkad, former member of Kerala State Women’s Commission; Sunila Selvan, sitting councillor and Tessy Jacob, former councillor are the Mayor probables of LDF, according to front leaders.
Girinagar division, from where Monamma Kokkad is contesting, also often favours UDF, with the outgoing councillor representing the front, Suja Royi, winning the 2010 elections with a margin of over 600 votes. Though there were around 4,000 voters, only 60 per cent of them exercised their franchise. Suja had bagged 1,269 votes. Interestingly, BJP’s Sindhu Vijayakumar came second with 673 votes and the LDF’s Mercy George could gain only 433 votes. Another jolt to both fronts is that Suja Royi’s husband Abraham is also contesting as an independent candidate during this time. However, LDF is confident that Monamma could script a history in the division as she has built a good image among the public as a state Women’s Commission member and social activist.
In Kathrikadavu division, where Tessy Jacob is seeking mandate, UDF has an upper hand. During the 2010 election, the outgoing Mayor Chammany had bagged 3,172 votes and his opponent Joe George Palakkaran who contested as independent candidate could bag only 1,387 votes from as many as 5,000 votes. According to CPM sources, Tessy Jacob, the sister of KPCC vice-president Lali Vincent, is an experienced councillor and that would help to check the UDF upper hand in the division.
However, statistics favour LDF’s Poornima Narayan and Sunila Selvan, who are contesting from Gandhi Nagar and Pullardesam divisions respectively. In Pullardesam division, Adv Sunil Kumar won last time for around 1,000 votes. He bagged 2,848 votes, whereas UDF’s Rajesh S Babu could secure only 1,852 votes. In Gandhi Nagar, the outgoing opposition leader K J Jacob received 2,211 votes against his opponent Thampi Abraham’s 1,457 votes.
A similar political storm is faced by the UDF’s Mayor probables in their divisions. Gracy Babu Jacob, Gracy Joseph (sitting councillor) and Deepthy Mary Varghese are the other Mayor probables of the UDF.
In Kunnumpuram division, LDF is in a strong position, where the young leader of UDF Deepthy Mary Varghese, an active worker of NSU(I) and Youth Congress, is contesting as Mayor probable. During the 2010 election, out of the 4,381 votes polled, M P Mahesh Kumar of the CPM had secured 2,351 votes. UDF’s M R Abhilash gained 1,944 votes. According to UDF sources, the front lost the Kunnumpuram division in the last election owing to some other factors, which have now been settled.
However, for Gracy Babu Jacob and Gracy Joseph, who are contesting from Ernakulam North and Kadavanthara divisions respectively, the statistics are favourable. The performance of sitting councillors in the last election - Lino Jacob and outgoing Mayor Tony Chammany - would work in favour for the UDF, activists said. While Chammany had secured 3,172 votes, Lino Jacob’s vote count was 1,531.