Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 15 (IANS) Kerala’s rebel NCP MLA Mani C. Kappen on Monday constituted a 10-member committee which was given the task of floating a new party and also to decide its name and symbol.
Kappen expects results from the committee in a week’s time.
“The committee is chaired by Kappen and hold a meeting in the state capital soon and by two weeks we expect to finalise even the state office bearers,” said a NCP leader on condition of anonymity.
The decision of floating a new party was taken soon after Kappen met top UDF leaders on Sunday.
Last week the Kerala unit of the NCP, presently an ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), split when Kappen who leads the breakaway faction announced his decision to quit the LDF.
On Sunday he joined the Congress-led UDF at a rally led by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala.
The entire top brass of the UDF was present to receive Kappen at his home in Pala Assembly constituency in Kottayam district.
Each of them spoke against the raw deal given by the CPI-M leadership for dumping Kappen in favour of a party which he had defeated in a bypoll in 2019.
Kappen opened up on Saturday after arriving from Delhi, where the state NCP leadership had a meeting with its national president over the impasse in the state unit.
NCP in Kerala over the years has been an ally of the Left and had two legislators, including a state minister, while a third seat is vacant after the death of one of their sitting legislators in 2019.
NCP got a major boost when Kappen won the Pala Assembly seat in 2019, following the death of veteran K.M. Mani who was the legislator from Pala since its inception in 1967 and had not lost a single Assembly election.
Kappen who lost to Mani in 2011 and 2016, won the seat in 2019 as K.M. Mani’s party – Kerala Congress (Mani) failed to capitalise on the sympathy factor.
But things nosedived for Kappen ever since K.M. Mani’s son, Jose K. Mani, who now leads the Kerala Congress (Mani) along with his supporters, became an ally of the LDF, while its other faction led by P.J. Joseph continued in the UDF.
And it became more evident after the LDF’s success in the local body polls in December, especially in districts like Kottayam and Pathanamthitta, where Jose K. Mani was able to bring in more seats for the Left.
There were also whispers that Kappen would have to vacate his seat in the upcoming Assembly polls in April-May for Jose K. Mani who has already quit the Rajya Sabha and is all set to contest from Pala.
Kappen also announced that he would launch his election campaign as part of the opposition UDF next week.
With Kappen also announcing a new party it would be the 25th political party presently aligned to one of the three political fronts in the state which has a representation in the 140-member Kerala Assembly.
While the ruling Left has 12 parties, the UDF has seven, while the BJP-led NDA has five with 18 other parties which are not part of any political front.