Kerala minister quits LDF govt

He is all set to merge his party in the Kerala Congress (Mani) which is a UDF constituent and was till recently its arch rival.

The imminent merger of the two dominant Kerala Congress factions positioned on either side of the political divide is a setback for the LDF. The merger move, reportedly at the behest of the Catholic Church, has been vehemently opposed by a section in Joseph’s party as well as the Congress which had raised a slew of charges against him during his LDF stint.

“The state committee of our party has decided to leave the LDF and tie up with the KC(M),’’ Joseph said in Kottayam after the party meeting. However, only three of the four party MLAs including himself are supporting his moves.
The rebel faction led by former MP P C Thomas and V Surendran Pillai, MLA, met in Kottayam separately and decided to stay put in the LDF.
Joseph said the decision to leave LDF was spurred by the front’s decision to curtail minority rights and his party’s inability to get it corrected. “The party rank and file were disturbed over it. Of course, we were also for a unification of the Kerala Congress parties,’’ he said. 

The KC(J) which was a constituent of the LDF for the last 20 years had provided the much-needed Christian support for the Left in the state all these years. “We had no problems with them whatsoever and they never made known to us any disagreements in recent times. They have cheated us,’’ said CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan echoed the same feelings and said Joseph was being expelled. 

Meanwhile, there is trouble in the UDF too. The front which has to find seats for new recruits like M P Veerendrakumar of Janata Dal will struggle to find more seats for Joseph in the assembly elections.
DH News Service

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