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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Bid to end Congress-CPI(M) alliances in local bodies

By N.J. Nair

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 18. The district leadership of the Congress has started an attempt to persuade the panchayat members of the `I' group who have become presidents with the support of the CPI(M) to snap their ties with the leftists, even as the move has come in for resistance from the group.

The District Congress Committee (DCC) has taken the initiative in this regard following the UDF convener, Oommen Chandy's recent declaration that those who have assumed office by aligning with the CPI(M) should quit the posts before the Lok Sabha elections, failing which disciplinary action would be initiated against them. Mr. Chandy has also said that they need not campaign for the UDF candidates.

The DCC president, Peethambara Kurup, told The Hindu here today that the party had already held preliminary discussions with the panchayat presidents of Vithura and Kudapanakunnu and the chairman of Varkala municipality following Mr. Chandy's declaration of the party line.

"The local alliances made by certain Congress members with the CPI(M) and certain constituents of the LDF were a temporary affair. Such alliances will not continue anymore. We have given specific directions to the UDF members that they should snap the alliances made with the parties outside the UDF. The talks for realignment in these panchayats are progressing and the response from the presidents is very positive," Mr. Kurup said.

Sources said that the DCC had called a meeting of block and grama panchayat members to end the factional disputes among them. Some of the members who attended the meeting were for the continuance of the Congress members who got elected with CPI(M) support. They also wanted to vote out the CPI(M) members who won along with the `I' group members.

The `I' group members who crossed the floor, however, are in no mood to break the alliances, it is learnt. Much more than the political understanding between rival fronts, the local issues in certain panchayats had also played a dominant role in the forging of the ties with the CPI(M).

Sources said that there were differences of opinion in the Congress about the way the committee headed by the former president, K. Narayanan, was running the administration in Kudappanakunnu panchayat. Once the simmering differences came to the fore, the `I' group members teamed up with the CPI(M) and elected their nominee, Kottamukal Subash, as the president.

Now, the majority of the `I' group members in the district are learnt to be averse to breaking the ties with the LDF and thus disrupting the smooth functioning of these local bodies institutions. They cite the situation in the rural block panchayat comprising Kudapanakunnu and Vattiyoorkavu grama panchayats in support of their stand.

The UDF and LDF have equally matched in the rural block panchayat, which has 10 members. The president, Leela Thampi, is a Congress member, but many other significant posts are being held by the LDF members. Those who support the forging of new alliances argue that if the rival fronts can unitedly run the administration without any hitch, there was no room for concern over the forming of new alliances. But in the wake of the bid for unity in the Congress, it remains to be seen whether the district leadership would accept the argument and allow the `I' group leaders to hold on to their positions.

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