Thiruvananthapuram: The schism in the Kerala unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is yet to be papered over despite Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan calling for a truce meeting of the faction leaders.
With Pinarayi declining to give a categorical assurance on the Pala assembly seat, the talks held between him and NCP chief T P Peethambaran to resolve the issues with the state unit of the party ended inconclusively.
NCP state chief Peethambaran who called on the chief minister on Tuesday told Pinarayi that his party would not settle for anything less than four Assembly seats including the Pala constituency. The chief minister, however, told the NCP state president that he alone would not be able to give an assurance on this demand.
The chief minister said a decision would be taken after discussing the issues with all stakeholders in the Left Democratic Front. When Peethambaran sought to know if the discussion would get delayed further, Pinarayi said the information would be passed on to the NCP leadership.
Pinarayi had summoned Peethambaran to Thiruvananthapuram in the wake of Pala MLA Mani C Kappan and NCP state leadership reiterating that sitting seats would not be parted with in the name of give and take during the seat allocation ahead of the assembly polls this summer.
Peethambaran met the chief minister for a brief period at the latter's office in the Assembly complex. Later Peethambaran told mediapersons that the NCP was not prepared for any compromise on the sitting seats. "The discussions with the chief minister were fruitful though he did not give any assurance on the issue of seats. We don’t consider Kerala Congress (M) to be a big party or a party which can exercise so much influence on the LDF. If they have entered the LDF that does not mean that we have to part with our sitting seat," the NCP state president said.
CM summons Saseendran
Subsequently, the chief minister summoned the leader of the rival faction and transport minister A K Saseendran and held discussions with him as well. Mani C Kappan who had to leave for Guwahati for an urgent requirement, could not participate in the discussions with the chief minister.
Kappan while reacting to queries from mediapersons had earlier hinted that chief minister had not given a categorical assurance on his Pala seat so far. He may quit the LDF fold if the Pala constituency is allotted to the Kerala Congress (Mani) faction led by Jose K Mani.
After the meeting with the chief minister, Peethambran went to Saseendran's room and both the leaders continued their discussion on the matter for some more time. They briefed NCP national president Sharad Pawar over phone about what had transpired in the meeting with the chief minister. Pawar told them that he would let the state leadership know about his plan to visit Kerala in a day or two. Either Pawar or Praful Patel are likely to visit Kerala next Sunday.