KOTTAYAM: After the ‘mass entry’ of former NCP leader Mani C Kappan, MLA, into the UDF camp by joining Ramesh Chennithala-led ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yatra’ in Pala on Sunday, his induction into the front appears to be becoming a contentious issue. Despite Chennithala projecting Kappan as the UDF candidate in Pala in the coming assembly elections during a reception accorded to the yatra in Pala, confusion still prevails in the UDF on whether Kappan will be inducted as a coalition partner or asked to join either the Congress or any other existing coalition partners like the P J Joseph-led Kerala Congress.
A source privy to the Congress said a decision to this effect will be taken only after Rahul Gandhi arrives in the state on February 22 to participate in the culmination of Aishwarya Kerala Yatra in Thiruvananthapuram.
At the same time, Kappan is moving ahead with plans to float a political party at the earliest and he intends to stake claim to three seats for his party. Kappan has initiated steps to constitute a new party with the title Kerala Nationalist Congress Party (Kerala NCP), after his expulsion from the NCP.
“We have decided to convene a meeting of those who left the NCP and other parties in Thiruvananthapuram on February 22 to discuss the formation of a new party. Paperwork is on for this and we are checking with the Election Commission authorities whether we will get the title Kerala NCP,” Kappan told TNIE.
Kappan said he has not held any discussions with the Congress or UDF leaders on how he would be accommodated in the UDF camp. “I have not held official discussions with any of the leaders regarding joining the UDF as a new party. Though I have a good rapport with senior Congress leader Tariq Anwar, I have not asked him to induct me as a UDF constituent,” Kappan said. He also indicated plans to stake claim to three assembly seats in the UDF, including Pala, Kuttanad and another seat, anywhere in the state.