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Karunakaran's party not untouchable: CPI

Special Correspondent

Party to field independents, women in the local body election

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPI State secretary Veliyam Bhargavan has said that his party does not see the party led by K. Karunakaran, tentatively named National Congress (Indira) as an untouchable and would have local level tie-up with it to defeat the UDF in the upcoming local body elections.

Mr. Bhargavan told a news conference here on Thursday that the Opposition LDF was unanimous on having a local level tie-up with the National Congress (Indira) and said he did not believe that a tie-up with the NC(I) would hurt the credibility of the Opposition alliance. The LDF's main objective in the local body election was to defeat the UDF and it would strike deals with other like-minded parties at the local level to achieve this objective.

The CPI leader said the LDF would make all efforts possible to avert a contest between coalition partners. Discussions towards this end would be initiated soon. In the last local body elections, the CPI(M) and the CPI had fought against each other in several wards. Although differences were certain to crop up, these would be ironed out at the earliest to ensure that the LDF put up a strong fight.

The CPI has resolved to keep out persons who have contested elections for two consecutive terms out of the fray. Exceptions to this norm would be made only in absolutely unavoidable cases, but this would be subject to clearance from the district party committees concerned. All the candidates to be fielded by the party would not be CPI members. Persons of eminence and those who command respect in their locality would also be fielded as party-backed independents. Special preference would be given to women, he added.

Replying to questions about the move for merger of the Kerala Congress faction led by R. Balakrishna Pillai with the Janata Dal (Secular), Mr. Bhargavan said nobody could be allowed to use the LDF as a refuge for those deserting the UDF.

It was for the two parties to decide whether they wanted to merge their identities, but they could not hope to get an additional benefit on account of that, he added.

Nobody should venture into to the LDF to serve their private ambitions, he said and added that the same applied to the Indian Federal Democratic Party (IFDP) led by former Union Minister P. C. Thomas, which was trying for merger with the Kerala Congress (Joseph).

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