Congress circles are abuzz with discussions about a possible leadership change in the Kochi Corporation, though many party seniors feel that a shuffle is unlikely in the near future.

The debate, which is resurfacing after a hiatus of about six months, is primarily focused on replacing Mayor Soumini Jain with Shiny Mathew, chairperson of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the civic body.

The earlier demand for removing T.J. Vinod, Deputy Mayor, from the post seems to have fizzled out. The demand had gathered momentum a few months after his appointment as the DCC president.

The detractors of Ms. Jain, said a former Minister, may have to wait at least till the Parliament elections, which are due in May next for pressing their demand. Any immediate change in the leadership was unlikely in Kochi, he said.

At the same time, those baying for the blood of Ms. Jain said the Congress leadership was bound to honour the agreement made during the time of selecting her for the top post.

Going by the understanding, Ms. Jain was to give way to Ms. Mathew after completing 2.5 years in office. One should honour the agreement as six months have elapsed after the deadline, they argued.

Interestingly, Ms. Mathew, a first-time councillor who enjoyed the support of two senior Congress leaders from West Kochi, had staked her claim for the post immediately after the civic body elections.

However, the party decided in favour of Ms. Jain, the chairperson of Works Standing Committee in the previous regime, as then KPCC president V. M. Sudheeran threw his weight behind her.

The allegations of some Congress leaders offering a few seats for a price in the civic body elections also infuriated then KPCC leadership.

Following the allegations that raised a storm in the party, Mr. Sudheeran had personally monitored the election of chairpersons to the Kochi Corporation and the Kalamassery Municipality.

The question of leadership change was discussed at a meeting of senior leaders from the district held on Sunday.

The leaders may meet shortly to discuss the issue again. There cannot be any going back on the agreement for leadership change and Ms. Jain needs to quit, said a Congress councillor.

One senior Congress councillor felt the discussions about the leadership change was solely aimed at protecting the vested interests of some individuals. If required, the party should think of replacing the whole team of civic administrators with new faces rather than focusing on one individual, said the councillor, who was also heading a Standing Committee.

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