Two Kerala Congress parties in the Left Coalition to merge
As part of getting a larger share of power, the Kerala Congress (Skariah Thomas) and Kerala Congress (B) have decided to merge. The official announcement will be made in the state capital on Tuesday.
While Skariah Thomas is a full-fledged ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the CPI (M) , the KC (B) led by veteran R Balakrishna Pillai is only an ally of the Left ever since it broke away from the then ruling Congress-led UDF in 2015.
Thomas and Pillai on Monday met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Kollam and the green signal for their decision was given.
"The Chief Minister is our leader and it's quite natural we discuss all things with him," Thomas told the media.
While Thomas' party has no legislator, Pillai's party has one – his son KB Ganesh Kumar.
Presently, the LDF has six constituents and all of them have been given cabinet berths.
The seven allies include the National Secular Conference, Kerala Congress-B, Communist Marxist Party-A and Revolutionary Socialist Party-Leninist (all have a legislator each) while the Janadhipathya Samrakshana Samithi-Gowri, Indian National League and Kerala Congress-Democratic are currently unrepresented in the Assembly.
A source in the know of things told IANS that a move to expand the LDF has been on the cards for a while and will come up at its meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.
"What is to happen is this – all the allies would be asked to discuss amongst themselves and report back at the next LDF meeting, when the decision would be arrived at," said the source.
Of these affiliated parties, the Kerala Congress-Democratic, led by former Lok Sabha member Francis George, is one which the CPI-M is certainly keen to have on account of its presence in good numbers, especially among the Christian community, in Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamathitta districts.
The LDF leadership however has to ensure a clear-cut understanding with the new entrants, that if they are taken into the fold, there should be no attempts to demand ministerial berths, like Congress-S, whose lone legislator is a minister since the party has been in the LDF for a long time.
(With IANS inputs)