Special Correspondent

Wants Central leadership to issue directive to local leaders Wants leadership to issue directive

  • Move is being viewed as an attempt to shut all doors on the new look NCP
  • K.C. Joseph urges Ramesh Chennithala to give instructions in this regard

    Thiruvananthapuram: Congress leaders are putting pressure on the party leadership to issue directives to local leaders not to have any kind of ties with the Nationalists Congress Party (NCP), particularly in panchayats, municipalities and corporations.

    The move is being viewed as an attempt to shut all doors on the new look NCP, now led by K. Muraleedharan.

    Some of the Congress leaders perceive the possibilities of the NCP withdrawing support to the LDF in several municipalities, corporations and panchayats in the aftermath of its ouster from the ruling coalition and putting pressure on the Congress party's local leadership to strike an alliance with it to gain control of these bodies.

    In Alappuzha municipality, the NCP has withdrawn its support to the ruling LDF in the 50-member council.

    The LDF has 24 members (one short of majority) and the former DIC(K) transformed NCP has four members.

    There are several such local bodies, particularly in the areas in which Congress has deep roots but lost out last time owing to the split in the party.

    Leaders worried

    The Congress leaders are worried about the possible confusion the NCP could create by trying to make a bid for control of such local bodies with support of the panchayat-level Congress leadership.

    Embarrassing position

    The State-level leaders would find themselves in an embarrassing position and on the back foot trying to explain such illicit political ties even while hitting out hard at the NCP at the State-level.

    To make matters worse, the Congress leadership does not have a clear picture about vulnerable local bodies.

    The UDF leadership would have to discuss this issue seriously when it meets on Monday. But the anti-NCP move has already started with the Congress Legislature Party secretary K.C. Joseph, a close aide of Leader of the Opposition, firing the first salvo by demanding that KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala should give instructions to the local party hierarchy not to have any truck in the local bodies with the DIC(K) that has since merged with the NCP.

    Mr. Joseph said in a letter to Mr. Chennithala that the UDF should not become a refuge for those political parties ousted from the LDF.

    He pointed an accusing finger at the KPCC for dashing the UDF's chance of returning to power by striking a last minute electoral understanding with the DIC(K) ignoring the sentiments of the party workers.

    Mr. Joseph said the Congress should not take on the burden of giving refuge to the NCP after its miserable failure to gain entry into the LDF even after its unabashed support to the ruling coalition in the Thiruvambadi byelection.

    However, Mr. Joseph did not have any objections in readmitting former DIC (K) workers who differed with the decision of the NCP and giving them honourable accommodation.

    When contacted, Mr. Joseph said he did not include the Kerala Congress (Jacob) leader T.M. Jacob as a former DIC (K) leader.

    Mr. Chandy is a harden critic of Mr. Karunakaran and Mr. Muraleedharan. He had not whole-heartedly accepted the ties with the DIC(K), brokered by AICC general secretary Veerappa Moily on the eve of the Assembly elections.

    Mr. Joseph's rather strongly worded letter appeared to be a pointer at the way the Opposition Leader views the whole issue even as the debate of the UDF's plan to expand its membership by including Mr. Jacob.

    Mr. Joseph raised an important issue that the Congress party cannot wish away and would be forced to take a firm stand.