The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has summoned its Kerala unit leaders TP Peethambaram, AK Saseendran and Mani C Kappan to New Delhi on February 1 to discuss the party’s situation in Kerala.
After meeting party supremo Sharad Pawar in Mumbai earlier today, Kappan said that the meeting would be taking place in New Delhi. “I spoke to Pawar regarding the party situation in Kerala. He said that there is no need for a compromise for the seats won in Kerala. There will be a meeting in New Delhi next month. Praful Patel will also be present in the meeting between Pawar, Peethambaram, Saseendran and me,” Kappan told reporters in Mumbai.
Kappan also informed that Thomas Chandy’s brother would be contesting from Kuttanad. Reportedly, Pawar will be meeting CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja regarding the Kerala situation.
The NCP’s problems in Kerala surfaced after disagreements over the Pala seat emerged months before the Kerala Assembly elections. While Kappan made it clear that he will not give up on the Pala seat, Saseendran felt it would be better to give the seat to Kerala Congress (M) chief Jose K Mani, who recently joined the Left Democratic Front (LDF). Saseendran believes that giving Jose the seat could yield rich dividends including, a Rajya Sabha seat. However, Peethambaran sided with Kappan and is adamant about holding on to the Pala seat.
Earlier Saseendran 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.
Though there are reports that the CPM wants Kappan to contest from Pala, there are other reports that LDF may field Jose from Pala as 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 the 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.HL: TP Peethambaram, AK Saseendran and Mani C Kappan to meet NCP top leadership in New Delhi on February 1