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HomeHealth standing panel chief Ashraf ends bonhomie with LDF in Kochi Corporation

Health standing panel chief Ashraf ends bonhomie with LDF in Kochi Corporation





Ending his two-and-a-half-year-long bonhomie with the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the Kochi Corporation, T.K. Ashraf, Health Standing Committee chairperson, is returning to the United Democratic Front (UDF) fold.

He is expected to formally announce the decision to leave the ruling dispensation in a couple of days.

Mr. Ashraf alleged that the Mayor had sidelined the Health Standing Committee in the Kochi Corporation Council, which was constituted to decide on the health affairs of the civic body, and single-handedly took various decisions. “In a large number of cases, the council and the Health Standing Committee were kept in the dark. The decisions were conveyed to us after they were taken, which cannot be allowed any further,” Mr. Ashraf told The Hindu.

“The decision to hand over waste management in the city to private agencies cannot be accepted as it will cost the civic body dearly. The issue was not discussed at the Health Standing Committee meeting. A meeting of the Kochi Corporation Council has been scheduled for Tuesday, the day on which the committee is supposed to discuss the issue,” he said.

Mr. Ashraf, a former councillor of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), had aligned with the LDF in the Kochi Corporation after being elected as an Independent candidate from the Kalvathy division during the last election. He had parted ways with the IUML following differences of opinion with the party.

The LDF, which was inching towards a simple majority in the council, roped in Mr. Ashraf by offering him the post of chairperson of the Health Standing Committee, which he had held during the term of the previous UDF council. The CPI(M) district leadership had signed a deal with him to ensure his support for the LDF in the council and to return to power after a decade. Mr. Ashraf’s decision to desert the LDF may embarrass the ruling front. The LDF will have a lot of explaining to do when its chairperson deserts the camp and turns into a foe.

The relationship between the League rebel and the LDF in the council turned sore following the March 2 Brahmapuram fire. Mayor M. Anilkumar took over the reins of the Health Standing Committee, which was in charge of the waste management affairs of the city, as the civic administration received all-round criticism for its inept handling of waste processing.

The UDF may gain an upper hand in the Health Standing Committee and vote down the decision to privatise waste management as it will have the support of five members, including Mr. Ashraf, in the nine-member standing committee. The decision of the committee may have a bearing on the move of the LDF to engage private players in waste management.

The Mayor refused to comment on the developments.

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