Three leaders desert UDF camp in Kerala

Last Updated 21 March 2011, 08:48 IST

Stephen George, Jaya Daly and George J. Mathew were all leaders in their own right in the Congress-led UDF. But they have deserted it ahead of the April 13 polls.

Stephen George, a one-time legislator from Kaduthurthy in Kottayam district, Sunday resigned from the Kerala Congress (Mani) party, an ally of the UDF.

"I was kept guessing till the last moment and now I am told that I cannot be made a candidate because Mons Joseph, against whom I won once in 2001 and lost once in 2006, has to be accommodated because that was the understanding when the Kerala Congress (Joseph) party's faction merged with our party. I have no option and I will contest as an independent candidate," said George.

He is expected to get the support of Kerala Congress (Thomas), an ally of the LDF.

Another leader to jump the fence is Jaya Daly, who Sunday announced that she has been left high and dry by the Congress party.

"I just can't take this humiliation any more because it appears that only those who play factional politics in the Congress party will get a seat to contest. I have resigned from the Congress party and will now take on former Congress minister N. Sakthan from the Kattakada constituency near here," said Daly.

Coming to Daly's aide is the CPI-M, which has decided to withdraw its candidate in her favour. She will also contest as an independent.

Reacting to Daly's statements, senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha member K.P. Dhanapalan said, "She is free to chart her own future and so that we have no objection but we do not buy her theory (of factionalism) against our state president."

She has been a much sought after speaker for the Congress party ever since she was six years old.

As for George J. Mathew, a three-time Congress legislator from Kanjirapally constituency in Kottayam district, he has been cut up with the top Congress brass here ever since he was denied a ticket in the 2006 state assembly polls. And now he has left the opposition camp.

Polls to the 140-member Kerala assembly will be held April 13.

(Published 21 March 2011, 08:48 IST)

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