RSP ditches Left Front, to go alone in Kerala

RSP ditches Left Front, to go alone in Kerala

 The southern Kerala district of Kollam is set to witness a red-hot battle in the Lok Sabha election on April 10 with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) breaking ties with the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF). The RSP that has a strong presence in the district is expected to contest alone in Kollam even as the Congress-led ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) is planning to extend support to the party.

Senior RSP leader and former minister N K Premachandran is being fielded by the party in Kollam. The RSP has severed its 34-year ties with the LDF over differences during the seat-sharing talks. The CPM that heads the opposition front continued efforts on Sunday to bring the ally back into the Left fold but RSP cadres have favoured moving ahead with the decision during district-level meetings of the party.

Leader of the Opposition V S Achuthanandan has termed the RSP decision “unfortunate” while the CPI has also sought action from the CPM central leadership to pacify the RSP.
CPM Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and CPI state secretary Pannyan Ravindran held discussions with RSP leaders on Sunday but the ally is in no mood to relent after what it called “repeated snubs” from the CPM.

The RSP that fielded candidates all through the 1960s to the late 1990s suffered a setback following internal rifts that led the CPM to take over the seat in 1999. The Kollam seat has since stayed with the CPM even in the face of opposition from the RSP.

Meanwhile, reports said the Congress High Command has given the state leadership the go-ahead to decide on a possible alliance with the RSP. Shibu Baby John, Labour Minister and leader of the RSP(B) – a faction that is part of the UDF – has welcomed the rebelling party and is pushing for a united RSP to take on the LDF candidate in Kollam.

Kollam was represented by Congress’ N Peethambara Kurup in the 15th Lok Sabha. With the party planning to accommodate a breakaway Leftist party into its scheme of things, dissent has also surfaced within the Congress ranks. Posters have started appearing in the district – claimed to have been issued by the Youth Congress – stating that the party should only field a candidate who contests in the party symbol.

The Kollam deadlock could prove costly for the CPM that failed to take a long-time ally into confidence.

The party’s decision could spell respite for the Congress that is grappling with dissent from a faction of its ally, Kerala Congress (KC), over the Kasturirangan report on environment conservation in the Western Ghats.

The LDF has made it open that disgruntled KC factions are welcome but KC discussions are still on to iron out differences with the Congress.

Meanwhile, another LDF constituent – the JD(S) – has also staked claim for a seat in the election. In the 2009 election, the CPM had contested 16 of the 20 constituencies with the CPI fielding candidates in the other four.

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