NCP splits in Kerala, faction led by Kappan joins UDF ahead of assembly polls
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), one of the partners of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) coalition, has split within itself, ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Kerala. Mani C Kappan, Kerala NCP leader and legislator from the Pala legislative assembly in Kottayam, announced his decision to join the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress party.
LDF had planned to handover Pala, the legislative assembly seat in contention, to the Kerala Congress party, which has recently joined the coalition after breaking its decade-old alliance with the UDF. The UDF, however, would field Kappan for the seat.
During the bypoll held in 2019, Kappan won the Pala legislative seat for the LDF coalition. The LDF, however, had reportedly decided to hand over the seat to Kerala Congress (M), led by Jose K Mani, in the upcoming assembly polls, much to the dismay of Kappan. He had claimed the support of seven district presidents and nine office bearers of the NCP and had decided to part ways with the party and LDF.
While talking to the press, Kappan said he hopes the UDF will accommodate his faction into their alliance. He also said that he would attend the UDF’s state-wide rally, Aiswarya Kerala Yatra, on Sunday, when it reaches his Pala constituency in Kottayam district.
A K Saseendran, Kerala’s transport minister and NCP leader, had criticised Kappen’s move to split from the party and join the UDF. He said that Kappen had done injustice to the people who elected him in the 2019 bypoll for the seat, in which he defeated Kerala Congress leader Jose Tom from the UDF. The bypolls for the Pala seat was held after veteran Kerala Congress leader K M Mani, who had represented the seat for more than 50 years, died.
Kappan had also held discussions with the national leadership of the NCP in New Delhi, which is yet to react regarding the issue.
(With inputs from Ramesh Babu KC, PTI)