KOCHI: Soumini Jain of the UDF was on Wednesday elected as the Mayor of Kochi. She was in sworn in by Ernakulam District Collector M G Rajamanickam. Soumini polled 41 votes and defeated LDF candidate Poornima Narayan, who secured 30 votes, in an open ballot. Later, UDF’s T J Vinodh was elected as the Deputy Mayor. Soumini administered the oath of office to Vinodh.
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Out of the total 74 councillors, BJP councillors Shyamala S Prabhu and Sudha Dileep Kumar and independent candidate K H Preetha abstained from voting. Meanwhile, two LDF rebel candidates, T K Shamsudheen and Seenath Rasheed, and UDF rebel Geetha Prabhakaran favoured Soumini.
However, Seenath Rasheed later voted in favour of K J Antony, the LDF nominee, during the Deputy Mayor election. Vinodh received 40 votes, while 31 votes went in favour of Antony.
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The name of Soumini was proposed by P A Harris of the Muslim League and her candidature was seconded by V K Minimol, while the name of Poornima Narayan was proposed by Sunila Shelvan and seconded by Sunitha Ashraf. It was Kerala Congress (M) councillor Johnson Master who proposed the name of Vinodh. The Mayor election was almost a formality as the UDF has a simple majority in the council with the Congress alone having 35 members in the council. Corporation secretary V R Raju and additional secretary A S Anuja coordinated the election process. MLAs Hibi Eden, Benny Behanan, Dominic Presentation and Ludy Louis and former Mayor Tony Chammany were present at the council hall.
It was after overcoming several behind-the-scene operations that 44-year-old Soumini became the 19th Mayor of Kochi. Elected for the second time to the Kochi corporation council, Soumini won the elections from Elamkulam division this year.