Incidentally, N Venugopal, former chairman of Greater Cochin Development Corporation, was recently booked in a theft case.

N Venugopal standing on a footpath near a deserted road. He is wearing a white shirt and is looking at the camera
news Kerala Local Body Polls 2020 Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 15:06

Each vote counts. The phrase has literally come true for N Venugopal, the Mayor candidate of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kochi Corporation. He lost the Kerala local body polls to the NDA candidate by one vote. Venugopal, a senior Congress leader and former chairman of the Greater Cochin Development Corporation (GCDA), contested from Island North ward and secured 181 votes. He lost to NDA’s Padmakumari T, who won 182 votes. Meanwhile, the LDF candidate was pushed to the third position.

The loss of Venugopal, former general secretary of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), who was also showcased as UDF's Mayor candidate, has come as a big blow to the UDF, which had ruled the Kochi Corporation for the past 10 years. Moreover, Venugopal lost from the sitting seat of the UDF in the Island North ward.

Notably, Venugopal was arrested in August in a theft case related to valuables worth over Rs 1.40 lakh that went missing from the official residence of the GCDA chairman during his tenure as its chief. This could have probably become a setback for Venugopal in the elections.

During his tenure as the chairman, Venugopal had furnished his official residence with furniture costing Rs 50 lakh. However, when his term ended, many valuables were missing and a complaint was filed by the then GCDA Secretary. He was booked under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property) and 408 (criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant) of the Indian Penal Code.

Read: Former GCDA Chairman and Congress leader N Venugopal arrested in theft case

Talking to the media following the results, Venugopal said there could have been a technical glitch and that one more vote was not counted. He told Manorama News that he will decide soon whether to go for an appeal.

Although the UDF held the Kochi Corporation for the past two terms, it will not an easy fight for power this time, as it does not have a clear majority. Out of the 74 wards in the local body, UDF is leading in 31 wards, while LDF leads in 29 wards, NDA in five and independent candidates lead in 10 wards.

Watch video of N Venugopal's reaction:

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