Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: United Democratic Front (UDF) convener P.P. Thankachan has said the coalition will take a collective decision on whether any new party, including the Samajwadi Party which has found a new outlet in Kerala, needs to be admitted to the fold.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, he said the UDF held the view that democratic votes should not be scattered. As far as the Revolutionary Socialist Party (Marxist) was concerned, it no longer existed after its merger with the Samajwadi Party (SP). He said that Babu Divakaran had briefed him about his party’s moves and he had informed him that the issue would have to be discussed in the UDF.

Mr. Thankachan said that even though the SP had an understanding with the Congress at the Centre, it was for the UDF to decide whether it should have any truck with the party at the regional level. “In any case, we have not invited Mr. Divakaran for the November 26 UDF high-power committee meeting,” he said.

Asked whether the Nationalist Congress Party would be accommodated, Mr. Thankachan said that if it was a matter concerning its entry into the UDF, the constituents would sit together and discuss the matter. If the matter related to NCP’s merger or K. Muraleedharan joining the Congress, it was for the party high command to take a decision.

So far, the UDF had not got any application from Mr. Divakaran and it would consider it at the appropriate time, he said.

In reply to a question on the current tussle between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara church, Mr. Thankachan said the UDF considered it an affair between the communities. “We have taken a neutral position on this issue,” he said. During the previous UDF rule, steps had been taken to bring peace between the warring factions. To a question, he said it was for the State government to reply to the charge that it was giving all support to one of the factions.

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