T Padmakumari of the Bharatiya Janata Party may continue as a councilor in the Kochi corporation as fate has favored her twice in two years. The first lot was in the polling station and the second lot was taken out in the court.
In the local body elections held in 2020, Padmakumari, a political novice, shocked Congress veteran N Venugopal by one vote, one vote for mayor. Curiously, the election in Congress’s Stronghold Island North division went through an unprecedented process. Though 496 people exercised their franchise, only 495 votes were recorded in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at the end of the polling. One more vote was needed in the machine to declare the election process complete.
Therefore, the presiding officer decided to vote with the consent of all the parties. Then the vote was decided by lottery and a lot came in favor of Padmakumari. Accordingly, the presiding officer voted for his election symbol ‘lotus’. However, there was another surprise in wait. When the votes were counted, Padmakumari surprised everyone by capturing the Congress ward, that too by one vote.
Soon, rival candidate N Venugopal approached the Pradhan Munsif Court, alleging vote irregularities by the presiding officer.
The court accepted Venugopal’s contention and observed that the vote cast by the presiding officer was in a manner not even heard of. Subsequently, that additional vote was annulled. With this, the tally of BJP and UDF candidates went up to 181 votes. Therefore, a draw was required to select the winner. Padmakumari emerged lucky in the presence of lawyers in the lottery held in the court on Wednesday.
The Congress camp, meanwhile, was planning to take over the corporation on its own if Venugopal was in favour. There were proposals to bring independents to the Congress side and take back the reins of the corporation from the CPI(M). But luck was in favor of Padmakumari and all the plans of the Congress were in vain. BJP workers celebrated the victory by giving a welcome ceremony to Padmakumari, who was re-elected councilor.
Last month, the BJP could retain the Ernakulam South division as Padmaja Menon was elected in the bypoll following the death of her corporator. The saffron party has five seats in the Kochi municipal council, the most in its history.
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