National Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar has cancelled his visit to Kerala amid issues in the state unite of the party.
The Kerala unit of the NCP is going through an internal crisis. From NCP’s state point of view, the timing of this crisis couldn’t be more ill-timed. Kerala is getting ready for Assembly elections in April and, this crisis can put a spanner in the works. The NCP unit is likely to split into two like the Kerala Congress. With Pawar cancelling his visit, there are signs that the crisis in the NCP is unlikely to be resolved peacefully.
Reportedly, party supporters and leaders seem to be divided between Transport Minister AK Saseendran and Pala MLA Mani C Kappan. The NCP is currently part of the ruling Left Democratic Party (LDF).
A few weeks ago, Kappan and Sassendran had a meeting on the Pala seat. The former made it clear that he will not give the Pala seat to anyone. Saseendran felt it was unnecessary for a stubborn stance over the matter.
The meeting 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.
Cracks in the party began to appear shortly after Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani defected from the United Democratic Front (UDF) to the LDF last year. According to a leading English daily, top CPM leaders promised Jose the Pala seat which Kappan currently holds. 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, adding that he is not interested in getting Rajya Sabha berth at anyone’s mercy.
He also took a shot at the Jose faction for claiming the Pala seat. “The Jose faction lost the Pala seat in the last election. They have no right to claim the seat,” Kappan said.