KC(M) set to retain key post

Nirmala Jimmi to be nominated as Kottayam district panchayat president

Months after walking out of the United Democratic Front (UDF) following a dispute over power-sharing in the Kottayam district panchayat, the Kerala Congress (M) led by Jose K. Mani is set to take up reins of the local body once again.

According to the KC(M) leadership, 55-year-old Nirmala Jimmi, who won from the Kuravilangadu division, will be nominated as president of the Kottayam district panchayat for a term of two-and-a-half years. A formal announcement regarding her nomination is expected after a meeting of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on Monday.

Ms. Jimmi, who became president of the district panchayat earlier in 2012, has already been appointed as the leader of the KC(M) parliamentary party in the district panchayat while Jose Puthenkala, who won from the Kaduthuruthy division, will be assisting her. She will be sharing the post with a Communist Party of India (Marxist) nominee, who will be handed over charge for the remaining two-and-a-half years.

Confirming the move, KC(M) district president Sunny Thekkedam said the aspects of a power-sharing agreement with the CPI(M) would soon be finalised. “Discussions to this effect are indeed taking place but there are no disputes whatsoever,” he said.

In the 22-member district panchayat, the LDF has 14 seats, with the CPI(M) and the KC(M) holding six and five seats respectively. The Communist Party of India (CPI) has three seats. Having severed its decades-long association with the UDF following a dispute over the change of guard at the district panchayat, retaining the local body’s top post is indeed a matter of priority as far as the KC(M) is concerned.

Equal seats

Meanwhile, the LDF will be nominating Sheeja Anil as its chairperson candidate to the Kottayam municipality. In the local body that has 52 seats, the UDF currently possesses 21 seats against the 22 seats of the LDF.

But with Bincy Sebastian, the lone Independent councillor in the municipality, deciding to extend her support to the Congress-led coalition, both the coalitions now have an equal number of seats in the council. With this, the chairperson is set to be elected through a draw of lots.

In Pala municipality, Anto Jose Padinjarekkara of the KC(M) is set to become the chairman for the first two years. He may be succeeded by a CPI(M) councillor for a term of one year while the seat will be handed over to the KC(M) for the remaining two years.

In the 28-member Erattupetta municipality, Suhura Abdul Khader of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Muhammad Ilyas of the Congress are most likely to be appointed as chairperson and vice chairman. The UDF has 14 members in the council against the nine members of the LDF. The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), meanwhile, has five members in the council.

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