Saseendran’s exit over airing of explicit tape: LDF alliance member NCP is not amused

The party has lost its single cabinet berth, and they say, it’s a conspiracy.
Saseendran’s exit over airing of explicit tape: LDF alliance member NCP is not amused
Saseendran’s exit over airing of explicit tape: LDF alliance member NCP is not amused
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The political fallout of Saseendran’s resignation as Kerala’s Transport Minister is here: His party, the NCP, has alleged foul play after a Malayalam tv channel, Mangalam, aired an audio clip with sexually explicit content, allegedly involving Saseendran and an unknown woman.

While Saseendran resigned on Sunday for the sake of a fair probe, the NCP has questioned how Mangalam TV got hold of the clip. “It can’t be believed that the clip was automatically placed on Mangalam channel’s news table, and that it was kept there for days,” NCP state president Uzhavoor Vijayan told TNM. “I won’t say that a conspiracy was hatched for the ousting of the Minister from the cabinet. But something was worked out behind the screen. There is foul play. The judicial probe announced is to find that out. The inquiry will be objective,” he said.

Vijayan said that Saseendran spoke to him before taking the decision to step down. “At first I doubted if that was necessary. But he was firm on his stand. What Saseendran did was right,” Vijayan  said.“Politicians should show their moral stand when they have to face allegations like this. In the previous government, not a single a Minister who face worse allegations even issued a press note as repentance. Unlike in Saseendran’s case there were complaints and complainants in their cases,” he added.

The NCP has been an ally of the CPI(M) for many years. The party has two legislators, of whom Saseendran was given the cabinet berth. Thomas Chandy, the MLA representing Kuttanad constituency, is the second Nationalist Congress Party legislator. With Saseendhran stepping down from his post, the party is left with no representation in the government. The NCP is clear that they want Thomas Chandy to take over the post, but sources say that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is not keen on inducting Chandy into the cabinet. Chandy, a businessman, has corruption allegations against him, and is also the richest legislator in Kerala. According to local television reports, the CPI(M) national leadership, too, is against letting Chandy become a Minister.

The NCP though is adamant that the cabinet berth belongs to them. “We won’t allow anybody else to take over our cabinet berth. Obviously Thomas Chandy is our choice. But I can’t make any official announcement now. We will take a decision that won’t harm the coalition,” Vijayan said. It’s not just the cabinet berth causing trouble for the alliance. Sources say that there is a section of people in the CPI(M) who don’t want the NCP to continue in the LDF coalition. Only in Kerala both the parties joined hands together. The NCP was an ally of the Congress in some states including Bengal. Sharad Pawar’s party had given unconditional support to the BJP government in Maharashtra after the 2014 Assembly elections. "But we don't have any alliance in any state at present, except in Kerala," Vijayan said.

In fact, the recent incident in Goa Assembly, where the lone NCP MLA Churchill Alemao supported the BJP-led alliance during the trust vote has irked the CPI(M) further. While the NCP has issued a notice to Alemao, the CPI(M) is not satisfied, sources claim.NCP though says that its political alliances in other states do not affect its equation with the CPI(M) in Kerala. “NCP has initiated steps to disqualify the Goa MLA. But I don’t think such incidents would impact the party’s relation with CPI(M) in the state,” Vijayan said.

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