KOCHI: With nearly four days left for the deputy mayor’s election in Kochi corporation, heated discussions are going on in both the LDF and UDF camps in the district.Though the LDF will officially declare the candidate on Monday, a source close to the party leadership confirmed that Opposition leader K J Antony will be fielded as the candidate. Since the factional feud in the UDF camp is at its peak, the LDF is making all-out efforts to ensure the victory of their candidate. According to LDF sources in the district, Antony will be the apt leader from the LDF camp to contest the election for the post of deputy mayor.
“Antony is an experienced councillor and his performance as opposition leader is commendable and that has been taken into consideration while considering him as the candidate. Though the official decision would be out on Monday, the leadership has already finalised his name,” said a source associated with the CPM district leadership.With T J Vinodh resigning from the deputy mayor’s post after getting elected as MLA, the UDF has 37 councillors in the corporation which has a total strength of 74.
The LDF has 34 councillors while the BJP has two. However, the nearly 10 councillors, including two women councillors Geetha Prabhakar (independent) and UDF member Jose Mary, had openly come out against the leadership for the plans to remove Mayor Soumini Jain from the post. The councillors also announced that if the Mayor was removed from the post, their support to the ruling council would be taken back and that would gradually result in losing the majority in the council.
“It is true that factional feud in the UDF camp is rife now. At present, they have only the majority of one councillor. But there are several councillors who are not ready to vote in favour of the UDF candidate. This will help us,” said the source.Meanwhile, the district Congress leadership will finalise the candidate for the deputy mayor election on Monday. As per sources in the party, the leadership has identified three councillors - K R Premkumar, P D Martin and K K Kunjachan of ‘I’ group.
“There was an agreement between the ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups to share the post after two and a half years. However, no decision has been taken on removing the mayor. Since there is an agreement in the ‘I’ and ‘A’ groups, the ‘I’ group candidate will contest the deputy mayor election. Premkumar and Martin will have the highest priority,” said a Congress source.