Dispute in NCP over Cabinet berth

Fresh trouble is brewing in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), somewhat a sequel to the pre-poll tangle, with former Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran and newly elected legislator Thomas K. Thomas staking claim for Ministerial birth in the Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet.

As the dispute is snowballing in the State unit, the party Central leadership has deputed its national general secretary Praful Patel, MP, to hold discussions with the warring groups on May 18. He will also meet Mr. Vijayan.

Mr. Saseendran, who survived the dissidence within the party against his candidature in the Elathur Assembly constituency, now faces Mr. Thomas, brother of former Minister the late Thomas Chandy, who won from the Kuttanad segment.

Rumblings of discontent in the party have come out with State general secretary Abdul Rassaq Moulavi and vice president P.K. Rajan questioning the statement of State president T.P. Peethambaran that the party should make an introspection into the circumstances that led to Mani C. Kappan’s exit from the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, and he pulling off a victory from the Pala constituency.

Another State general secretary Jayan Puthenpurakkal who was one of the contenders for the Elathur seat has backed the claim of Mr. Thomas and leads the anti-Saseendran faction in the party.

Sources said Mr. Patel, assigned by NCP national president Sharad Pawar as a troubleshooter, favoured Mr. Thomas’s induction into the Cabinet rather than giving a second term to Mr. Saseendran, whose performance as Transport Minister was viewed as disastrous.

Otherwise, Mr. Patel would devise a power-sharing deal with both legislators equally sharing the five-year term to end the deadlock, the sources said.

Such negotiating shticks have been chalked out by other political parties in the front as well. A package has been reportedly worked out within the Janata Dal (S) that also has two MLAs, and among single-legislator constituents in the Left coalition, sources said.

Incidentally, P.C. Chacko who quit the Congress on the eve of the elections and subsequently joined the NCP is rooting for Mr. Saseendran’s Cabinet berth. But a strong group is against Mr. Chacko calling the shots in the party. Many feel that Mr. Chacko had a good political run for several decades and they attributed his entry to the NCP to the denial of the Congress ticket in the Assembly polls.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 9:41:40 PM |

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