Political parties gearing up for Gandhi Nagar bypoll

Political fronts have stated preparing the ground for the bypoll to the Gandhi Nagar division of the Kochi Corporation though the date for the election is yet to be announced.

The seat fell vacant following the death of the Councillor K.K. Sivan. The CPI (M) leader died following Covid-related health issues. The election to the division attains significance as a UDF win could trigger a change of guard in the Kochi Corporation.

If elected, the strength of the UDF would reach 33 seats in the 71-member council. Currently, the LDF, which has the support of 35 members, is ruling the council. The BJP has five members. Of the five Independent members, the two rebels of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), who shifted their loyalty to the LDF were rewarded with chairmanship of two standing committees.

A UDF win would create a situation where the rebels may return to the party fold to bring the front back to power, hoped a Congress leader. The UDF candidate P.D. Martin, who tasted defeat the last election, has once again fielded himself in the division, which is long considered as a strong LDF bastion. Last time, Mr. Sivan won the election by a margin of 106 votes, which was probably the lowest winning margin of an LDF candidate from the division.

While the candidate of V 4 Kochi, a non-political formation, bagged 216 votes and the namesake of Mr. Martin polled 55 votes to ensure the defeat of the UDF candidate, said a Congress leader.

The infighting in the Congress also contributed to the defeat of the party candidate. This time, all possible care would be taken to avoid the defeat, he said.

The Congress candidate could bring down the winning margin of the LDF significantly in the division. If not for the V4 and the namesake candidate, the UDF would have won the seat, he said.

Meanwhile, the LDF camp is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that it’s nominee will be elected from the division. Though the names of a few prominent LDF leaders are doing the rounds, the party is yet to finalise it’s candidate, LDF sources said. The CPI (M) has asked P.R. Renish, chairman of the Development Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation, to take care of the division. The vaccination drive and related activities went on smoothly in the division under his supervision, said a civic administrator.

The line up of the candidates will be known only when the poll dates are announced. However, the party has already activated it’s organisational machinery considering the significance of the election. Nothing short of a victory would be acceptable for the party in the division, a party leader said.

The voters may not be inclined to destabilise the LDF-led civic administration especially when the LDF led government is in power, he hoped.

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