Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nationalist Congress Party State president K. Muraleedharan said here on Wednesday that his party was preparing for possible mid-term Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a press conference soon after the NCP State executive, Mr. Muraleedharan said the State unit had received a direction from its national president to begin preparations. The State executive discussed the strategy to be adopted in this regard and had decided to keep away from both the UDF and LDF in the context of the “painful” experience it had to undergo in respect of its attempts to forge alliances with the two. The party’s stand would be finally decided by the Central leadership on the basis of the changing political situation. “As of now, the State unit was working with the aim of fielding candidates in all the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the event of mid-term polls,” he said.

As far as the State unit was concerned, it would convey its desire to plough a lonely furrow, but would fall in line with any decision that the national leadership might take in the party’s larger interests, he said.

Mr. Muraleedharan said the national leadership had been briefed about the outcome of the multi-layer discussion the State leaders had held with coalition partners in the LDF and the UDF.

Mr. Muraleedharan made it clear that his party had taken the decision to stand alone in the context of uncharitable comments made by certain Congress leaders. “We don’t want an alliance that would be an outcome of some leader’s benevolence,” he said. Several senior Congress leaders had conveyed during his talks with them that the Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala were not the last word on the stance their party would take, he added.

In the last Assembly elections, the erstwhile Democratic Indira Congress (K) had succumbed to pressures to forge an alliance with the UDF. The DIC(K) was at that time only a regional force.

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