Kerala CM talks to Praful Patel over phone amid speculation of rift in NCP


Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 11 (ANI): Amid rumours of a split in the Kerala unit of Nationalist Congress Party ( NCP) which is an alliance partner of the ruling Left Democratic Front ( LDF), Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said he held discussions with senior NCP leader Praful Patel over phone.
“NCP is part of LDF. Praful Patel called me and we had a discussion over the phone. He will visit Kerala. LDF has not even started a seat-sharing discussion. There is no rift with NCP,” he said at a press conference here.
NCP leader Mani C Kappan had indicated that he would contest the upcoming assembly polls from Pala, which NCP wrested from Kerala Congress (M) in the bypoll held after the death of KC (M) supremo KM Mani.
There were reports of the possibility of NCP faction led by Kappan joining Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
Mani C Kappan told ANI that he will abide by the stand taken by NCP national leadership.
“The reports of a split in NCP Kerala unit are cooked up by media,” he said when asked about Vijayan’s conversation with Praful Patel.
“If NCP national leadership takes a decision to part with Pala seat I will abide by it,” he said.
With KC(M) led by Jose K Mani joining the Left front, CPI(M) is keen to hand over the seat to latest entrant in LDF after the good show put out by the party in the Christian belt of Kottayam.
Instead of Pala, CPI(M) is offering the Kuttanad constituency to NCP.
AK Saseendran, Transport Minister in Pinarayi cabinet, who is keen that NCP should continue in the Left front, also ruled out any possible split in Kerala unit of the party.
“Till now the party has not held any discussions regarding switching fronts. I am not ready to comment on some rumours,” said Saseendran.
Sources said NCP state president TP Peethambaran has demanded that the party should be allotted all four sitting seats in the upcoming assembly polls.
A final decision will be taken by NCP chief Sharad Pawar regarding the sitting seats, which will set the course for the future of the NCP alliance with the Left in Kerala.
Elections for 140 Assembly seats in Kerala are likely to take place in April-May. (ANI)


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