Kerala Congress (B) to vote for LDF candidate in Speaker election
The Kerala Congress (B), a minor ally of Congress in the United Democratic Front in Kerala, on Wednesday decided that its MLAs would vote for the LDF candidate in the election to the post of Speaker, which became necessary after the death of incumbent Speaker G Karthikeyan.
The election would be held on Thursday. The UDF announced deputy speaker N Shakthan as its candidate and LDF has fielded CPI (M) legislator Aysha Potti. In the Assembly, the ruling front has 72 members (after the death of Karthikeyan) and the opposition front has 67 members.
KC(B) chairman R Balakrishna Pillai said the party has taken a decision to favour the LDF candidate in the election for Speaker’s post. The party also discussed the option of abstaining from voting, but in the end decided to support the LDF candidate, said Pillai.
The decision would pave way for a formal exit of KC (B) from the UDF. Pillai had been one of the founders of the Congress-led UDF coalition three decades ago. After Pillai substantiated the bribery charges against Finance Minister K M Mani, the UDF had asked the veteran leader not to trouble the ruling front anymore. Since January this year, Pillai’s party was kept away from the meeting of the UDF.
Kerala Congress (B), which has only a legislator in the assembly, has a strained relationship with the UDF for last several months. Pillai had quit as the chairman of Kerala State Welfare Corporation for Forward Communities. His son and party legislator K B Ganesh Kumar had rattled the UDF in the last assembly session, by raising corruption charges against offices of the ministers of Indian Union Muslim League. Pillai had also embarrassed the UDF by secretly offering support to bar hotel owners who had raised bribery charges against another Kerala Congress leader and Finance Minister K M Mani.
In the LDF, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has been a known bête noir of Pillai. VS had diligently fought a corruption case against Pillai and subsequently, he was jailed for a few months in 2011.
But, VS had made clear that LDF was not averse to warming up towards Pillai as he was sidelined in the UDF on charges of exposing the corruption in the ruling front.
Source:: Indian Express