Thiruvananthapuram: Signaling an impending rift in the Nationalist Congress Party, senior leaders of the party aired difference in the opinion about remaining in the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala.
There were strong rumours that NCP is mulling over parting ways with the LDF and joining the United Democratic Front. New18 reported that the NCP has decided its future course which the Transport Minister and veteran party MLA AK Saseendran has not approved.
It is learnt that the party may witness a split at any time and AK Saseendran has initiated moves to form a new party with PK Rajan, who is now vice president of the NCP, as president.
Pushing the rumours behind, the minister said on Saturday that the NCP will remain in the ruling LDF in Kerala and will abstain from any action that will weaken the alliance.
"The NCP has not started any negotiations with the UDF; we are with the LDF," Saseendran told the media at Kozhikode.
"The alliance was formed in the wake of a particular political scenario. The situation has not changed in India and Kerala to have rethink over the alliance," he added.
As for NCP MLA Mani C Kappan eyeing to contest the Pala Assembly seat, the Minister said that there was nothing wrong in the former seeking the seat from the LDF.
It is pertinent to mention here that the NCP factions led by Kappan and Saseendran are almost acting like two different entities. Politically, Saseendran will be contesting from a CPI-M bastion, while Kappan is keen on contesting the Pala seat.
The Pala seat was represented for a record 50 years by late Kerala Congress leader KM Mani. The Kerala Congress-Mani recently switched sides from the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) to the LDF. It was certain that the LDF would give the Pala seat to Jose K Mani, party chief and son of late KM Mani, in the 2021 elections.
NCP sources indicated that since Communist Party of India-Marxist's Kottayam district committee and state committee had decided to field Jose K Mani from Pala as LDF candidate, it had forced a rethink in the NCP on its strategies.
Highly placed NCP sources said that the party had no option but to hold parleys with the UDF for an entry into the opposition front.
Kappan also told media: "We have not held discussions with the UDF but under no circumstances will we forgo the Pala seat."
NCP state General Secretary Salim P Mathew told IANS: "We have not decided to leave the LDF, but our party's interests were not taken care of in the recent local body elections. We have already communicated this to NCP national President Sharad Pawar. He has assured me and NCP national Secretary Josemon that he will intervene at the opportune time."
He warned that the NCP was not given its due in the local elections and if such a thing was repeated in future, the party will have to think on other lines.