Voices of dissent in V4 Kochi

Two members leave outfit; move to expand it at State-level triggers rebellion

Just days after putting up a performance scuttling the prospects of major fronts in numerous divisions in the Kochi Corporation, V4 Kochi, the apolitical outfit that emerged just months before the local body polls, seems to be floundering under the weight of internal squabbles.

Foji John, one of the founding members of V4 Kochi, and Jesme Jose, coordinator of its women’s wing, returned to the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which they regarded as the mother organisation of which they were part of all along, with what they claim to be around 50-odd members exposing chinks in the nascent outfit. The decision to expand the movement at the State-level under the nomenclature ‘V4 Kerala’ seems to have triggered the rebellion.

Nipun Cherian, campaign controller of V4 Kochi, however, put up a brave face, claiming that only Mr. John, who was on the verge of being ousted, has left the movement while waving away the departure of Ms. Jose as inconsequential, regarding her as just a member of some WhatsApp group.

“AAP does not even have a proper structure to be revived here and is simply dancing to the tune of the CPI(M), which, worried over the impact of our proposed State-wide expansion, has activated its contacts in that party to pull off this stunt. The move has little consequence for us, as we are busy expanding our movement ahead of registering it as a political party with national ambitions,” he said.

Shooing away the allegations, Jose Chiramel, coordinator of AAP in Ernakulam, said there would be an exodus of members from V4 Kochi in the coming days, as the movement was predominantly made of members from AAP, which was dormant for a while. “V4 Kochi was formed temporarily by our members eager to contest the polls, as authentication from the AAP headquarters in Delhi for contesting in the local body polls in Kerala was slightly delayed. Though the permission eventually came, we choose not to field any candidates within the corporation limits out of regards for V4 Kochi,” he said.

Mr. John added that the State-wide expansion was never on the agenda, and that it amounted to directly challenging AAP, the mother organisation, while dispelling allegations that he was on the verge of being ousted from V4 Kochi. “I had already put in my papers on the eve of the counting. More members, including the founder-members of V4 Kochi and from its 16-member core team, will leave the collective shortly,” said Mr. John, who was in charge of Ernakulam South and Thrikkakara South zones of V4 Kochi.

Ms. Jose, without naming anyone, accused the movement of increasingly turning autocratic, and that discontent was brewing inside V4 Kochi with many members leaving its WhatsApp groups as well. “The movement was a stopgap arrangement, and the idea all along was to return to AAP after the election. Most members are opposed to the movement’s State-wide expansion,” she said.

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