KOCHI: With Congress councillors putting up a united front, UDF candidate KR Premkumar romped home to victory in the deputy mayor’s election. Premkumar, who represents Konam division, downed LDF candidate and the Opposition leader in the corporation KJ Antony by a margin of three votes. District Collector S Suhas was the returning officer.
The winning candidate garnered all 37 UDF votes while Antony could muster only 34 votes. BJP members Sudha Dileep and Shyamala Prabhu abstained from voting. Premkumar’s election is likely to effect a change of guard in the mayorship. Later, the winning candidate, who has been a ward councillor for 15 years, took over as the new deputy mayor.
In his maiden address to councillors as deputy mayor, Premkumar said every effort will be made to carry forward the proposals mooted by his predecessor TJ Vinodh. “Only 10 months remain before the present council’s term runs out. It is not possible to conceive and implement new projects in such a short period. Vinodh had mooted several projects in the corporation budget and I will take them forward,” he said.
The new deputy mayor flagged the widespread waterlogging, potholed roads and e-governance as top priority areas which need to be addressed urgently. “ The work on the corporation’s new office is going on in full swing. I will do everything possible to fast-track the construction,” Premkumar said.
He also said efforts will be put to resolve the issues such as waterlogging, pothole-filled roads and e-governance. Premkumar had a rather unsuccessful start to his debut in electoral politics after contesting the civic body polls of 2000 from Perumpadapu division on a Congress ticket.
Though he lost to his CPM rival, Premkumar bounced back to emerge victorious from the same division five years later. It is his wide acceptability among public which ensured his win on the second attempt. He also managed to win back-to-back from Konam division in 2010 and 2015.
Earlier, in the run-up to the deputy mayor’s poll, the UDF was perturbed by the internal rumblings in the state Congress. Three councillors —including two women members — threatened to withdraw their support to the UDF leadership, if Mayor Soumini Jain is forced to step down.
However, the three changed their mind on Wednesday and voted in favour of Premkumar, after adhering to the whip issued by the party. Had they voted against the UDF candidate, the outcome would have been decided through a draw of lots.
- Premkumar garnered all 37 UDF votes while Antony could muster only 34 votes in the election
- Three UDF councillors who had initially threatened to withdraw their support to the UDF leadership, were also instrumental to the victory
- Had they voted against the UDF candidate, the outcome would have been decided through a draw of lots.