NCP to take up Kerala unit leadership issue


Praful Patel says meeting of State leaders will be convened

A meeting of the State functionaries and national leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in mid-January will take a call on the issue of finding a president for the party in Kerala in the wake of the death of the incumbent president Thomas Chandy last month.

Senior leader Praful Patel told The Hindu over the phone that he intended to call a meeting of Kerala leaders of the party in Delhi around January 16 to discuss the issue. “Until then, T.P. Peethambaran will function as stand-in president,” he said.

Kappan’s role

Rumours have been flying thick and fast about the newly elected legislator from Pala, Mani C. Kappan lobbying for a ministerial berth in the State Cabinet. Mr. Kappen, however, told The Hindu that he would neither seek a ministerial berth nor become the party chief in Kerala now. “I did not meet Mr. Pawar after my election, since he was busy with the Maharashtra election. That is why I met him last week. I did not seek ministership. But when asked if I could lead the party in the State, I politely turned it down as my priority is to take good care of my constituency,” he said.

Discussions are rife over a possible organisational rejig in the party. “But that is very unlikely before the organisational elections about seven to eight months away,” said a senior State leader, who thought it was very likely that Mr. Peethambaran would be made acting president till then.

However, Transport Minister and NCP leader A.K. Saseendran’s meeting with party supremo Sharad Pawar on Saturday added grist to rumour mills, which said a change in party leadership in Kerala was imminent. Talking to The Hindu from Mumbai, Mr. Saseendran said it was just a visit to invite Mr. Pawar for his son’s wedding. “It was just a personal visit and there was no political discussion,” he said. Asked if the post of president would be filled soon, he said there was no discussion to that effect within the party in Kerala either.

“But then we will not go on without a president for long as the Kerala BJP has been doing,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 3:36:33 AM |

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