THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a setback to the CPI(M)- led LDF Opposition in Kerala ahead of the crucial bypoll to the Piravom assembly seat, party MLA R Selvaraj today resigned from the House saying he was a victim of "factionalism" in the party.
According to Speaker G Karthikeyan's office, Selvaraj's resignation was accepted.
Announcing his resignation to reporters at Neyyattinkara near here from where he was elected, Selvaraj claimed he was "forced" to take the decision after realising that he would not get "any justice or protection" from the party leadership.
Selvaraj, who handed over his resignation letter to the Speaker after meeting him personally at his residence, said he was "deeply pained by the ongoing factionalism" in the party district (Thiruvananthapuram) unit.
The decision comes as a shock to the LDF and the CPI-M as the UDF is ruling the state with a wafer-thin margin and the Opposition is expecting a political change in the event of an LDF victory in the by-poll. The LDF had won 68 seats in the last assembly elections and the ruling Congress-led UDF 72.
With the death of former Food Minister T M Jacob who represented Piravom, the UDF's tally had come down to 71, which makes the by-poll a crucial one for both the Fronts.
Selvaraj said he was deeply hurt by targeted attacks against party workers who were not in the good books of the leadership.
"Normally, groupism used to end with the completion of state conference. But it is still continuing as the party was being run by leaders like a feudal set-up, Selvaraj alleged."
Asked about his future plans, Selvaraj said he would consult his followers and continue to be active in public work and politics, but ruled out the possibility of joining the UDF.
"There is no question of having any truck with the UDF. I will continue the uncompromising fight against UDF policies," he added.
Selvaraj's resignation comes as a rude shock to CPI-M, which in its history has never faced such a situation.
In the past parties had expelled members, but never before has a party MLA tendered resignation from the assembly on his own in Kerala.
It is all the more embarrassing for the party which had been claiming that it could end factionalism by the end of the state conference held here last month.
The issue is likely to be a topic of debate at the 20th Party Congress to be held in Kozhikode from April four next.
Selvaraj said before party conferences in the last two months, he was sidelined right from the start of membership campaign.
He was the only CPI-M MLA from the district who was not elected as a delegate to the party state conference.
Selvaraj said he was working with the party from his student days. But the present leadership was not heeding to the many complaints he raised before it and it was "difficult for him to continue to bear the humiliation."
He said all party conferences in the district were held "violating the guidelines" issued by the central leadership which clearly specified that there should not be personalised attacks in the meets. He refused to specify the names of the persons who were behind the attack on him.
Most of the leaders of the CPI-M feigned ignorance about the reasons for Selvaraj's resignation, saying the move was quite unexpected.
LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan said the reasons for the resignation would be examined. CPI-M Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said he could not contact Selvaraj and was unaware of the reasons behind his decision.