Another Assembly polls, another episode of party infighting and the controversy over Pala continues.
The tussle over the Assembly seat, which began during the byelection last year and was revived once again with the abrupt entry of the Kerala Congress (M) into the Left Democratic Front, is raging despite denial by the front leadership. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leadership also appears divided over the issue.
Addressing mediapersons on Saturday, Mani C. Kappan, the sitting legislator of Pala, asserted that the KC(M) had lost the Assembly bypolls last year and its leader Jose K. Mani had no authority to claim the seat. “From various development projects to welfare measures, including free ration kit to nuns, I have done so much for Pala over the past year. There is no question of giving up the seat to anyone for anything,” he said.
On Minister’s suggestion
When asked about a statement by NCP leader and Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran that concessions would have to be made for the coalition’s sake, Mr. Kappan said it would be ideal for him (Saseendran) to vacate his seat for accommodating the new partner.
Despite the differences of opinion, both Mr.Kappan and Mr. Saseendran, besides NCP State president T.P. Peethambaran, maintained that the NCP would remain with the LDF.
Official sources, however, said the party would soon convene meetings at the district committee level to discuss its position in case the LDF decide to take over the Pala and Kuttanad Assembly seats.
Meanwhile, speculation is rife about Mr. Mani resigning from the Rajya Sabha and contesting from Pala in the Assembly elections. The United Democratic Front (UDF), on the other hand, is learnt to have approached the disgruntled faction of the NCP with an offer to field Mr.Kappan from Pala as its candidate.
The ‘I’ group in the Congress, which has a set of leaders aspiring for the Pala seat, however, appears not keen on welcoming
Mr.Kappan to the UDF. Despite this, UDF leader P.J. Joseph on Saturday reiterated his willingness to field Mr.Kappan as the UDF candidate from the constituency.