The faction in the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) in Kerala on Sunday formally joined the opposition Congress(INC)-led UDF, a day after severing its ties with the ruling LDF in the state.

The faction, led by Mani C Kappan & a large number of his followers attended the ‘Aiswarya Kerala’ Yatra led by Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala when it reached his constituency Pala in the district.

Kappan was received by senior UDF leaders, including Chennithala, former CM Oommen Chandy, IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty and Kerala Congress leader P J Joseph when he reached the venue of meeting of the yatra.

Sources said Kappan would soon announce a new political party to officially become a constituent in the UDF. He quit the LDF in protest against the state LDF leadership following the move by the CPI(M) to hand over Pala Assembly seat to Kerala Congress (M)-led by Jose K Mani which recently joined the ruling front after severing its decades old alliance with the UDF.

Welcoming Kappan, Ramesh Chennithala said he has “escaped” from the LDF, which is a “sinking ship.” Lashing out at Jose K Mani, Kappan alleged that the Kerala Congress leader was torpedoing the developmental works undertaken in Pala under his leadership.

Kappan had defeated Kerala Congress leader Jose Tom, who contested as a UDF candidate in the 2019 bypoll, necessitated due to the demise of veteran Kerala Congress leader and former minister K M Mani.

K M Mani had represented the Pala seat in the Assembly for over 50 years. Kappan had held discussions with NCP national leaders in New Delhi this week about the “injustice” being meted out to him by the LDF over the Pala seat.

Kerala Transport Minister A K Saseendran, who heads the NCP rival faction, has condemned the move by Kappan to join the UDF, alleging that he did injustice to the people of Pala who elected him in the bypoll. The NCP national leadership has not officially reacted to the developments.

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