Kerala

Kappan to meet Pawar in Mumbai

As attempts by rival factions within the State unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to assert their control over the party gather pace, the faction led by Mani C. Kappan, MLA, will meet party leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai to press for the party's exit from the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Official sources said the meeting was being planned as Mr. Pawar had cancelled his scheduled visit to the State for discussing the issues concerning a prospective denial of the Pala Assembly seat to the NCP. The meeting between Mr. Pawar and Mr. Kappan is most likely to take place a day prior to the scheduled meeting of the LDF on January 27.

“Mr. Kappan will seek Mr. Pawar's permission to quit the ruling alliance in case the coalition fails to commit the seat to him,” they said.

Mr. Kappan, however, did not confirm the move but said he would be leaving for Mumbai immediately upon being called by Mr. Pawar. “Pala is my sitting seat and there is no point in requesting for it over and again,” he said told mediapersons.

Asked whether he would be interested in contesting from Kuttanad instead of Pala, Mr. Kappan replied in the negative.

With the LDF most likely to allot the Pala seat to the Kerala Congress (M), a vertical split in the NCP now appears unavoidable. Though the national leadership appears undecided on the issue and was reportedly planning to send its general secretary Praful Patel to the State, a consensus is unlikely to arrive at.

Earlier the other day, the faction led by Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran had met at the Minister's residence and vowed to stand by the LDF as they had already been assured of a fair deal by the CPI(M) State leadership. The faction claims the support of 10 district committees, while the rival group has the backing of four units, including Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Kasaragod.

The situation, meanwhile, appears not very rosy within the United Democratic Front (UDF) either as the Kerala Congress led by P.J. Joseph has asserted its right to field candidates from all seats that traditionally belonged to the regional party. Mr. Joseph, according to sources, is hard-pressed to ensure seats for at least a handful of leaders who switched from the various splinter groups of the regional party to join him recently.

The move assumes significance as the Congress looks set to take back seats, including Kanjirappally and Changanassery, from the regional party in view of a decline in its collective bargaining power.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 7:21:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kappan-to-meet-pawar-in-mumbai/article33644153.ece

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