C.R. Neelakandan, the Convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Kerala, has been suspended and removed from his position for supporting the Congress party in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The decision was taken on Saturday by the central committee of AAP after a meeting of the national leaders.
C.R. Neelakandan had announced on Thursday that the state division of the party would be supporting 11 candidates of Congress-led UDF and a single LDF candidate in Malappuram. He said that the decision was taken only on the advice of the national leadership to support candidates that can defeat the BJP.
“Initially, the national leadership had told us to support those capable of defeating the candidates of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The electoral scenario in each constituency in the State was different and the decision to support 11 candidates of the UDF was taken based on the feedback by district committees,” said Neelakandan in response to the central committee’s decision.
However, he said that the party’s decision not to support UDF was taken only on Saturday. Till then there was no specific direction other than to ensure the party was working against the interest of NDA.
He said “In many constituencies, the triangular fight is very close. Even a few thousands of votes may influence the verdict. Especially in the context of the Sabarimala temple issue, BJP is expecting huge support and hence in order to ensure their defeat we have to be careful in selecting the candidates whom we need to support. This needs a collective effort and a public declaration regarding our stand.”
The AAP leadership has issued a show cause notice with this regard criticizing the decision the support Congress. As reported by Outlook India, AAP leader Somnath Bharti has written a letter demanding an explanation from the state leadership regarding the various news reports that show AAP Kerala unit’s support to the Congress party. He said that decisions of such nature would only be taken up by the political affairs committee of AAP.
The report also records the statements of an AAP leader who said that the state leadership had taken the decision to support Congress only at the behest of Somnath Bharti. He says that Somnath Bharti was forced to issue the letter seeking an explanation. The central leadership wishes to support only the CPM led LDF in an attempt to defeat the BJP.
Neelakandan has said that he accepts the central committee’s leadership. However, he adds that this situation would have been avoided if the central leadership had given precise directions. Thufail PT has been appointed as the new AAP convener in Kerala.
With barely a day left for the elections, the rift between the national and state units of AAP has been exposed causing a major embarrassment for the party.