Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kerala minister quits in fresh row with CPM

17 Mar 2009,

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unhappy with a dominating CPM choosing Lok Sabha candidates for the Left Democratic Front on its own, the Janata Dal (S) nominee in the Kerala government resigned on Monday plunging the coalition into a fresh crisis.

Mathew T Thomas, the minister for road transport, met chief minister V S Achuthanandan and handed over his resignation. Later, he told reporters that he was only obeying the command of his party.

The H D Deve Gowda-led JD (Secular) is unhappy with the CPM for unequivocally conveying that the Kozhikode seat, curently held by JD(S), cannot be given to the party again.

JD(S) state president M P Veerendra Kumar, the sitting MP from Kozhikode, quickly called a news conference. "The CPM's unilateral decision to take away the seats of allies is not politically justifiable and lacks morality,'' Kumar said.

CPM is said to have shortlisted a youth leader of the party for Kozhikode and told JD(S) that it could take Wayanad instead.

JD(S) MLA M K Premnath warned that the party would go ahead with tougher measures if the seat is not returned. The JD (S) has five MLAs in the 141-member Kerala assembly.

Talks between CPI and CPM to resolve the standoff over the Ponnani seat reached nowhere with CPM still rooting for Hussain Randathani, an independent supported by radical cleric-turned-politician Abdul Nasser Madani. The talks will continue on Tuesday, sources said.

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