LDF evades political embarrassment; Deputy Mayor to make Budget speech

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The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the Kochi Corporation Council evaded a major political embarrassment with the Communist Party of India (CPI) eventually agreeing to let its nominee and Deputy Mayor K.A. Ansiya make the Budget speech in the council on Tuesday.

However, the Deputy Mayor and the ruling front will not be saved from the ignominy of being unable to present the Budget in the council as the document was not approved by the Finance Standing Committee of the Corporation.

The Corporation Secretary will present the Budget in the council in place of the Deputy Mayor, which is likely to present embarrassing moments to the ruling dispensation.

The Deputy Mayor, who heads the Finance Standing Committee, cannot present the Budget document in the council without the approval of the Committee. It was the ongoing tussle between the CPI and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] over sharing of power in the Corporation that culminated in the unenviable situation for the LDF in the council.

The presentation of the Budget by the Corporation Secretary is likely to present the Congress-led Opposition enough ammunition in the meeting. The Opposition would probably make use of the opportunity to expose the chinks in the ruling front, which pushed the civic administration to a never-before crisis.

The CPI nominees kept away from the Budget preparation process as the dispute between the two parties remained unresolved. The party was angling for the post of chairperson of the Development Standing committee, which was headed by a CPI(M) nominee. However, the CPI(M) ruled out the change of guard in the committee by sticking to the stand that there was no such pre-election power-sharing agreement between the two parties. The meetings between the district secretaries of the two parties had earlier failed to end the deadlock.

The CPI and the CPI(M) arrived at a consensus on Monday to discuss the issue later following the intervention of senior leaders. The discussions will resume after C.N. Mohanan, district secretary of the CPI(M), who is abroad, returns, sources said.



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