Rare change of guard in Left-ruled Alappuzha municipality on cards

Alappuzha municipality office. Photo: Manorama

Alappuzha: The Left-ruled Alappuzha municipality is likely to witness a rare change of guard as part of a 'compromise formula' being worked out by the district leadership of CPM to end growing discontent among a section of party workers.

Soumya Raj, the present chairperson of the civic body, is slated to step down from the post on July 15 as per an understanding within the party to quell factionalism. She will be replaced by K K Jayamma, a CPM area committee member who represents the Nehru Trophy Ward, party sources said.

The proposal to replace Soumya Raj (aka Indu Teacher), part of a compromise formula between the party factions, was initiated by party district secretary R Nasar during a meeting of the CPM parliamentary committee on Wednesday. As per the formula, both of them are required to share the post for a period of two-and-a-half years each. The proposal is now awaiting an in-principle nod from the state leadership. 

But more than quelling the factionalism, the decision to replace Indu Teacher, under whom the civic body won several recognitions for waste management, has triggered discontent within a section of the party cadre. 

K K Jayamma (left), a CPM area committee member who represents the Nehru Trophy Ward will replaced by Soumya Raj (right), the present chairperson of Alappuzha municipality

Besides, the permanent committees in the council too will be revamped with Naseer Punnakkal of the Loktantrik Janata Dal replacing A Shanavas, who was ousted from the party for his alleged links with tobacco smuggling racket, as the welfare standing committee chairman.

Other standing committee heads of Beena Ramesh, K Babu of CPM, and Bindu Thomas of KC(M) too will be replaced by S Kavitha, M R Prem, and M G Satheedevi, respectively.

The revamp also marks the second phase of the corrective action initiated by the party to address “growing discontent” among party workers at the grass root level against the district leadership.

The elevation of Soumya Raj, a first-time councillor from the Eravukadu ward, as the municipal chairperson had triggered widespread protests. A section of CPM workers has taken out a public protest, accusing the party district leadership of accepting bribes to nominate Soumya Raj over the more experienced Jayamma.

Though the party leadership had warned of disciplinary action against the protesters, a two-member party inquiry commission led by State secretariat members T P Ramakrishnan and P K Biju later confirmed factionalism behind the decision to overlook Jayamma.

Based on the commission’s finding, the CPM district secretariat initiated disciplinary action against P P Chitharanjan MLA.

While Chitharanjan was demoted from the district secretariat to the district committee, 25 other leaders including district committee members were officially rebuked.

The Haripad, Alappuzha North, and Alappuzha South area committees were disbanded and replaced with ad-hoc committees while the Alappuzha North and Alappuzha South committees were merged into one.

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