The Nationalist Congress Party in Kerala, a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government, has been apparently caught off guard by the seemingly “out-of-the-blue” decision of its leader Ajit Pawar to team up with the BJP to form a coalition government in Maharashtra.
The NCP, which has a Minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan Government, scrambled to explain Mr. Pawar’s desertion of a nascent alliance of the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP to back the BJP early on Friday.
NCP national general secretary T.P. Peethambaran told journalists here that Sharad Pawar, the party supremo, did not endorse Ajit Pawar’s move. Mr. Pawar, who was sworn in Deputy Chief Minister, would have had his own “motive” for siding with the BJP. The NCP had not decided to back the BJP, he said.
NCP legislator Mani. C. Kappan said the party remained strongly aligned with the LDF. He said the NCP would throw out defectors. He termed Mr. Pawar’s act as a betrayal of the NCP. Thomas Chandy, another NCP legislator, echoed similar sentiments.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran challenged the CPM to oust NCP from the LDF. He said political propriety demanded no lesser a measure. The LDF would lose its secular face if it nurtured a BJP ally in its midst.
Left Democratic Front (LDF) convenor A. Vijayaraghavan said Mr. Pawar’s decision to join the Devendra Fadnavis government was unexpected. The NCP had not endorsed his move. The NCP in Kerala has disowned Mr. Pawar. The party has taken a value-based view of the startling developments and horse-trading in Maharashtra.
Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran of the NCP is on a tour of Japan and Korea along with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.