On Wednesday, senior NCP leader Praful Patel has informed that the state unit will not give up the Pala seat in the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections and will continue its alliance with the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
“The party will contest all four seats including Pala in the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections,” Patel said while addressing the media after the meeting between the NCP national leadership and the Kerala leaders in New Delhi. Patel also informed that he would travel to Kerala and would hold discussions on the same with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
During the meeting, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar made it clear that the party will not give up on the seat and continue its alliance with the LDF. State NCP senior leaders AK Saseendran, TP Peethambaran, and Mani C Kappan attended the meeting with Pawar and Patel. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury also attended the meeting. Reportedly, Pawar told Yechury that the ‘losing party’ should not be given the Pala seat.
It is not difficult to decode which ‘losing party’ Pawar was referring to. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, NCP’s Kappan won the Pala seat after defeating Kerala Congress (M), and since then, many things have changed within the latter. The Jose K Mani faction of KC (M) broke away from the UDF and moved to the LDF, with the Joseph faction fighting for legitimacy. While the Jose faction had its issues with the United Democratic Front, it is alleged that they joined LDF after the latter’s senior leaders promised Jose the Pala seat.
Jose also helped the LDF make inroads into UDF bastion in central Travancore during the recent local body elections, solidifying his desire to contest from Pala in the upcoming Assembly elections. This created problems not just for the LDF but also for the NCP as Pala MLA Kappan made it clear he is not giving up the seat. However, Saseendran, who is the state Transport Minister, felt there was no need to be stubborn over the Pala seat, which resulted in a factional fight within the NCP. With Pawar making it clear that NCP will not give up the seat, it will be interesting to see what the LDF will do ahead of the Kerala Assembly elections.