NCP splits into two factions ahead of Kerala Assembly polls; rebel group to join UDF

Mani C Kappen, who is heading the faction, revolted against the state LDF leadership following the reported move by the CPM to hand over Pala Assembly seat to its new ally, Kerala Congress (M)

Press Trust of India February 13, 2021 13:01:08 IST
NCP splits into two factions ahead of Kerala Assembly polls; rebel group to join UDF

File image of Pala MLA Mani C Kappen. News18 Malayalam

Ahead of the Assembly polls in Kerala, the opposition UDF on Saturday got a shot in its arm with a faction in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a constituent in the ruling LDF, announcing its decision to part ways with the CPM-led alliance and join the Congress-led  front.

Mani C Kappen MLA, who is heading the faction, said he would attend the 'Aiswarya Kerala' Yatra led by senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala when it reaches his constituency Pala in Kottayam district on Sunday. Kappen, who won the Pala seat as an LDF candidate in the bypoll held in 2019, claimed support of seven district presidents and nine state office bearers of the NCP.

He revolted against the state LDF leadership following the reported move by the CPM to hand over Pala Assembly seat to Kerala Congress (M)-led by Jose K Mani which recently joined the ruling front after severing its decades old alliance with the UDF.

Talking to reporters, Kappen expressed hope that the UDF will take his faction in its fold. Kerala Transport Minister AK Saseendran, who heads the NCP rival faction, condemned the move by Kappen to join the UDF, alleging that he did injustice to the people of Pala who elected him in the bypoll.

However, the NCP national leadership has not reacted to the development. Kappen had defeated Kerala Congress leader Jose Tom, who contested as UDF candidate in the 2019 bypoll necessitated due to the demise of veteran Kerala Congress leader and former minister KM Mani. KM Mani had represented the Pala seat in the Assembly for over 50 years.

Kappen hadhelddiscussions with the national leaders of the NCP in New Delhi this week about the "injustice" being meted out to him by the LDF over the Pala seat.

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