C. Gouridasan Nair
LDF allies agree to proposal
Decision on NCP, INL at next
Devaswom Bill abandoned
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Decks have been cleared for the P.C. Thomas-led Kerala Congress faction's entry into the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).
At the LDF State committee meeting here on Saturday, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leadership got the other allies, particularly the Community Party of India (CPI) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), to agree to the proposal, which essentially means that, as of now, the Thomas faction is a constituent of the LDF. The committee deferred a formal announcement on the subject to club it with the induction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Indian National League (INL) into the alliance after the next meeting. The meeting did not discuss the question of giving Cabinet berth to the Thomas faction legislator V. Surendran Pillai in view of the decision to defer a formal announcement on inclusion of the group in the LDF.
According LDF sources, the CPI(M) leadership was firm in its position that the Thomas faction of the Kerala Congress must be accommodated in the ruling alliance. It brushed aside objections from the RSP representatives, but somewhat conceded the CPI argument that the party must be given time to discuss the issue at its State council meeting slated for May 20.
A press note issued after the LDF committee meeting said it had welcomed the decision of the P.C. Thomas faction of the Kerala Congress to stay with the LDF after the faction led by P. J. Joseph decided to merge the party with the Kerala Congress (Mani). The press note added that a decision on inducting the NCP and the INL would be taken at the next meeting of the committee.
Talking to The Hindu later in the evening, CPI sources said the party had no objection to the Thomas faction's inclusion in the ruling alliance. “All that we asked for was a discussion at our State council meeting on May 20,” they said.
The LDF State committee also took a decision to abandon the controversial Devaswom Bill and continue with the practice of having a three-member Travancore Devaswom Board and the Kochi Devaswom Board. The Bill, which envisaged formation of enlarged Devaswom Boards having seven members, had come in for criticism from various organisations, particularly the NSS.
The LDF meeting also decided to hold mass rallies at the district, Assembly constituency and panchayat levels to mark the fourth anniversary of the LDF government.