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Kerala Congress (B) severs ties with UDF

Kerala Congress (B) severs ties with UDF

Thiruvananthapuram: Ending its uneasy ties Kerala Congress (B), a minor partner of ruling Congress-led UDF, Wednesday decided to snap its decade long association with the front and caste its lone vote for the Opposition LDF candidate in the election to Speaker's post.

KC-B, leader R Balakrishna Pillai told PTI that the party had left UDF and would vote for P Aisha Potty of CPI-M in the election slated for tomorrow.

"For all practical purposes we are out of the Front for more than two years. I have not attended any of the important meetings of the Front during these period due to sharp differences with Front leaders and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy," Pillai, a founder leader of the UDF, said.

We are with Opposition, he added.

With the development, the UDF strength comes down to 73 in the 140-member assembly. Opposition CPI-M led LDF has 65 members and KC(B) one while one seat held by Karthikeyan is vacant.

KC(B) has no presence in the ministry after its lone legislator and son of Pillai K B Ganesh Kumar was forced to quit after facing allegations of domestic rift in 2013.

Relationship of KC-B with UDF soured after Kumar levelled corruption charges against PWD ministry headed by V K Ebrahim Kunju of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

The rift between KC-B and UDF partners widened recently after Pillai made charges against Finance Minister K M Mani in the bar bribe scam, following which, the front had removed Ganesh Kumar from the UDF Parliamentary Party.

Reacting to the development, Congress leader and UDF Convener P P Thankachan said ouster of KC-B from the Front was only a technical matter'.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and UDF candidate N Sakthan, who quit the post of Deputy Speaker, and Potty today filed nomination for the Speaker's election.

They filed papers before the Legislative Secretary, official sources said.

Election to the post of Speaker has been necessitated following the death of incumbent G Karthikeyan on March 7 due to cancer.

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