Formal announcement expected in two days

The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) is all set to be part of the United Democratic Front (UDF). Its nominee will contest the Kollam Parliament seat, subject to the condition that the party should merge with Labour Minister Shibu Baby John’s RSP(B), a partner in the ruling coalition. A formal announcement will be made after the decision-making bodies of the RSP, the Congress, and the UDF hold discussions in the next two days.

Whether the merger will be immediate is to be decided by the two RSPs, though the leaders of the two parties have no two opinions about it.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran says the Congress has no preconditions. But, the party leadership, during formal talks with RSP leaders on Sunday, put forth the condition that they should fully accept the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and the party MP (if elected) and [should] vote for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in the post-election period when numbers could be crucial.

The Congress leaders put forward the merger proposal to circumvent any issues related to issuance of party whips in Parliament.

In other words, the RSP, by merging with the RSP(B), will be required to cut its umbilical cord with its national leadership and perhaps contest as a ‘Kerala’ RSP without its traditional election symbol.

The UDF leadership’s offer, conveyed to the RSP at the official meeting, was preceded by several rounds of informal talks. The RSP leaders also reiterated their resolve not to respond to overtures by CPI(M) leaders.

The meeting at the Cliff House was attended by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, UDF convener P.P. Thankachan, and Mr. Sudheeran on the Congress side and RSP State secretary A.A. Azeez, N.K. Premachandran, and V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai on the RSP side.

Addressing mediapersons after the talks, Mr. Chandy said a formal announcement would be made after discussions in the KPCC executive committee on Monday and the UDF High Power Committee on Tuesday. The discussions with RSP leaders were held with the approval of the Congress high command.

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