Congress fields 48 new faces in corpn poll

Party releases list of 63 candidates; 11 seats allotted for allies

Battle lines have been drawn for the civic polls to the Kochi Corporation with the Congress leadership releasing the list of 63 candidates, leaving 11 seats for its front partners in the 74-member council.

The Congress announced 18 candidates for the district panchayat which has 27 seats. The party will announce three more candidates shortly, taking the total number of seats it is contesting to 21. Six seats will be earmarked for partners in the front.

The CPI(M) had released its list of candidates earlier.

In Kochi Corporation, the party has fielded 48 new candidates for the polls even as many of the prominent councillors in the past council failed to get renomination.

Senior Congress leader N. Venugopal, last Deputy Mayor K. R. Premakumar, Shiny Mathew, the former chairperson of the Town Planning Standing who unsuccessfully campaigned for the Mayor post by replacing Soumini Jain, and P. D. Martin and V. K. Minimol, the two chairpersons of the Standing Committees, are also in the fray this time.

The Congress leadership refused to renominate Gracy Joseph, the former chairperson of the Development Standing Committee who fell out of favour with the party leadership following the power-sharing exercise.

Releasing the list of party candidates, Dominic Presentation, the district chairman of the UDF, said the party had not made any electoral adjustments with any organisation outside the front. The response of Mr. Presentation came in the wake of speculation that the UDF may spare a seat for Welfare Party, the political arm of Jam’at Islami.

The UDF front partners will announce their own candidates in the coming days. The manifesto of the front will be released shortly, he said.

The Congress has left six seats for the Indian Union Muslim League to contest. At the same time, the League faces rebel menace at some of the seats it is contesting including the Kalvathy, Mattanchery and Chakkamadam divisions.

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