With a section in the Kerala unit of NCP fuming over denial of a Lok Sabha seat to it despite being a long time partner of the LDF, party supremo Sharad Pawar has called the state leaders to Mumbai on Thursday to assess the situation and avert a split.
A section in the NCP in the state, which has two MLAs in the Assembly, has been pressing for “drastic action”, including exercising the option of seceding from the LDF over the “gross discrimination” meted out to the party.
Though yet to come out openly on the issue, in internal discussions this group prefers hard decisions and cites the course opted by RSP, which quit LDF and joined the Congress-led UDF after after its demand for Kollam seat was rejected outright by the CPI(M).
Hardliners in NCP hold that the humiliation heaped on the party by CPI-M and CPI has become insufferable since NCP is the only LDF partner which does not have a candidate of its own in the state after Janata Dal(S)’s claim for a seat was accepted. Though initially CPI(M) rejected JD(S) demand, it later scaled down and allocated Kottayam seat for the partner.
They also cite the incongruence of the party continuing as a constituent of the LDF in Kerala while being a partner of the UPA at the Centre.
However, an influential group in the NCP state unit, led by party MLA A K Saseendran, is stiffly opposed to snapping ties with LDF, considering the prevailing situation in Kerala.
“Of course, we are not happy over rejection of our demand for a seat. This has been made clear by our state president (T P Peethambaram). But this does not mean that we are heading to a split,” Saseendran said.
“We are not going to tread the path chosen by the RSP. Things are very clear since our leaders and workers are active in the campaigning for the LDF,” he said.
On Pawar’s summons, Saseendran said his main purpose is to learn the ground realities in various states and he has called leaders from other states as part of this process.