Kerala

Kerala Cong. splinter groups lean towards UDF

Keen to fill the void created by the exit of Jose K. Mani, two smaller parties from central Travancore that share the legacy of the Kerala Congress have come forward to align with the United Democratic Front (UDF).

While a secretariat meeting of the Kerala Congress has entrusted its chairman P.C. Thomas to negotiate with the Congress-led coalition, the Kerala Janapaksham led by P.C. George, MLA, will discuss the proposal at a meeting in Kottayam on November 1.

Confirming the move, Mr.Thomas said the party had decided to pull out of the National Democratic Alliance and looked forward to join the UDF ahead of the local body elections in December.

“The UDF leadership has extended us an invitation through informal channels in view of the exit of Mr. Mani from the coalition. With UDF chairman Ramesh Chennithala openly expressing the coalition’s willingness to take us on board, formal discussions will begin in a few days,” he said.

Mr.Thomas said party workers were disappointed with the NDA in view of the unending wait for adequate representation in the government led by the coalition. “The Kerala Congress had been promised representation on a few corporations and boards, including the Rubber Board. It has been two years since then and we are not in a position to wait any more,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources said a few leaders with the KC(M) faction led by P.J. Joseph had expressed concern over the entry of Mr.Thomas into the coalition. The move is attributed to the anxiety that Mr.Thomas, son of Kerala Congress founder-leader P.T. Chacko, may undermine their respective positions, especially in case of a merger of the KC groups.

The Congress, though unsure about taking Mr. Thomas into the UDF fold, wants to woo voters of central Travancore who are disenchanted with Mr.Mani through Mr.Thomas, also from the dominant Christian community.

Meanwhile, resentment is brewing within the Congress over a purported move to induct the Kerala Janapaksham into the coalition. Two days ago, the Poonjar block committee of the party even adopted a resolution seeking not to cooperate with the veteran legislator.

While Mr.George seemed favourably disposed towards joining the UDF, he remained non-committal about closing a deal ahead of the elections. “I have been approached by a few UDF leaders with an offer to join the coalition. The matter will be taken up for discussion at a meeting of the party leadership in Kottayam on November 1,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 5:42:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-cong-splinter-groups-lean-towards-udf/article32947562.ece

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