Unwilling to budge from his stand, National Congress Party leader and MLA Mani C Kappan has made it clear that he will not be handing over the Pala to anyone in the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections.
The Pala seat has been the centre of attention in the run-up to the elections. Kappan won the seat in 2019. However, now the seat is leading to a split within the state unit of the NCP and causing minor headaches for the LDF. While Transport Minister AK Saseendhran proposed that Kappan could contest from Kuttanad in Alappuzha instead of Pala, however, the latter said there would be no compromise on the seat.
“I have contested from Pala four times and I have won. I can’t swim, so I am not going to Kuttanad. I will contest from Pala. I will be attending the LDF meeting on January 27,” Kappan said. He is currently in Mumbai and will meet NCP supremo Sharad Pawar over the Pala seat crisis on Sunday.
Earlier, a meeting between Saseendran and Kappan took place after the NCP infighting came to the notice of the LDF. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan intervened in the matter and asked both factions to hold talks and settle the matter. However, the Chief Minister’s intervention could not bring any yield.
Meanwhile, according to reports, the LDF decided to have Kerala Congress (M) chief Jose K Mani contest from Pala. It is understood that Jose joined LDF after senior leaders promised him the Pala seat.
During the 2020 Kerala local body elections, Jose helped LDF breach UDF bastion in Central Travancore, thus giving him the upper hand over Kappan to contest from the Pala seat in the upcoming Assembly elections.
Jose made his desire to contest from Pala known. Seeing this, the UDF tried luring Kappan to contest on their ticket from Pala. Kerala Congress leader PJ Joseph offered the Pala seat to Kappan.
“The NCP is likely to leave the LDF and join the UDF ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Kerala,” Joseph said, adding that he is ready to hand over the seat to Kappan if he contests on a UDF ticket in the Assembly elections.
“I have never thought of switching to another political front. In a short period, I have managed to bring in development to Pala,” Kappan said. However, in a few weeks, we will know if Kappan will contest on an LDF ticket or a UDF ticket.