The move by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to cobble together a secular front in Kerala —with the blessings of the CPI(M) central leadership — has run into trouble. State Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has lambasted Sharad Pawar’s “politics of opportunism”.
The CPI(M) central leadership, like its state unit — led by Achuthanandan’s rival Pinarayi Vijayan — had favoured NCP’s entry into the Left Democratic Front (LDF), but the chief minister, under suspension from the party’s politburo on disciplinary grounds, had kept a studied silence on this issue.
He broke that silence on Saturday. “What (kind of) politics is this? At the Centre and in other states, Pawar’s party is with the Congress but here it wants to be a part of the LDF,” the chief minister said.
The CM’s outburst has put the party in a piquant situation. In Delhi, politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai took much pain to explain that it was only a local arrangement. “The NCP has decided to join us in all anti-Centre protests. That is why it found a place in the LDF,” Pillai said. Among LDF constituents in the state, the Congress-S has opposed the move.
NCP spokesman D.P. Tripathi had earlier said the party will contest against Congress in upcoming local body and assembly elections in Kerala.
The NCP move is seen as a pressure tactic to counter the Congress’s move to clip Pawar’s wings. The NCP is also planning alliances with the Samajwadi Party in UP and Biju Janata Dal in Orissa.
Earlier, the NCP was a part of LDF in Kerala, but severed its ties.