June 29, 2010
Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala today approved in principle the merger of the two Kerala Congress factions led by K M Mani and former minister in the LDF Government P J Joseph.
"The merger is a reality now. Though the Congress wanted KC-M to have the issue discussed in the Front, they went ahead and merged with KC-J which was till recently with LDF. Joseph is now part of KC-M which is in the UDF," Front convenor P P Thankachan said after a UDF state-committee meeting here.
Congress and other UDF partners, who had been demanding that the merger be discussed in the Front, have apparently decided to play down the issue as the local body elections are round the corner. Thankachan also welcomed the support extended to the UDF by Indian National League for the local body polls, but said the Front had not made any poll arrangements with the party.
He described as "politically motivated" the LDF Government’s decision to hold a crime branch inquiry into the charge that Socialist Janata (Democratic) leader M P Veerendrakumar had encroached land in Wayanad District. "This is nothing but political vendetta.
They (LDF) are trying to tarnish the image of a leader who had been with them for the last 32 years. The allegations have suddenly come up when he left the Front and joined the UDF," Thankachan alleged.
The UDF meeting discussed the preparations for the local body polls slated for September and authorised leaders of its constituents for overseeing the campaign in various parts. The liaison committees of the Front in all districts would meet on July 1 and Assembly-level meetings would be held on July 2, he said.