Johnny Nelloor, a former MLA and leader of the Kerala Congress party, announced his resignation from both the party and the Congress-led United Democratic Front on Wednesday. He plans to establish a new political party focused on the interests of farmers at a national level.
Nelloor’s resignation is being viewed by many as a move to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and help it gain a foothold in the southern state where the saffron party has no MLAs or MPs.
Kerala Congress chairman P J Joseph said that his party worked to protect the interests of farmers and therefore there was some ulterior motive behind Nelloor’s decision. He also said that he had not received Nelloor’s resignation letter.
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Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the State Assembly V D Satheesan downplayed the development, saying that if not Nelloor, then Kerala Congress would send some other representative to the UDF.
“He does not appear to be a very important leader,” Satheesan said, speaking to reporters in Kollam.
He further said that only those who had an anti-communist and anti-fascist view could be part of the UDF, and anyone who answered the call of the BJP or other political parties could not be a part of either the Kerala Congress or the Indian National Congress.
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Speaking to the media in Kochi, Nelloor said the idea behind floating a new party was to represent the farmers and raise the issues they face.
He, however, rejected speculations regarding any such alliances, including with the BJP, or that the new party would be Christian-oriented, and said it would be secular in nature.
“We will work for all farmers and fishermen, not just rubber cultivators,” he said.
Nelloor declined to disclose any details about the party or who all would be at its helm, apart from him, and said that everything would be made clear in a few days.
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He said that leaders from various other parties would be joining the new party.
During his interaction with the media, Nelloor also accused the Left Front government in the state of misleading the rubber cultivators by not delivering on their poll promise to hike the rubber price to Rs 250 per kilogram.
He alleged that the LDF government did not even implement the Rs 170 per kg rate announced by them after coming to power.
(With agency inputs)