Bengaluru: A spat between the two major communist parties in Kerala turned public on Thursday, a day after differences intensified over the resignation of transport minister Thomas Chandy over allegations of land encroachment.

The two parties which make up the majority in the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) had differences over a popular demand for the resignation of Chandy, the state’s richest legislator and a member of LDF ally Nationalist Congress Party, following adverse observations against him by Kerala high court.

The Communist Party of India, or CPI, the second biggest party in the alliance, was unhappy with alliance leader Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM for delaying Chandy’s resignation. CPI ministers boycotted a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning to protest against Chandy’s presence in the meeting. Chandy resigned soon after.

On Thursday, CPM secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan lashed out against CPI, calling its boycott immature because, he said, the CPI ministers knew that Chandy was going to resign soon. They later even took credit for it in the media, he said.

Eventually, all of these gave LDF’s rivals cause to celebrate, added Balakrishnan. He said this cannot be seen as an isolated incident—the CPI wishes to take credit for all good things within the state but wants to blame the CPM for everything bad. This is not viable in coalition politics and the party should introspect, Balakrishnan said.

Balakrishnan was entrusted by the CPM’s politburo, which criticised the CPI’s action in a meeting in Delhi on Thursday, to air its thoughts on the matter. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan accused the CPI of violating the decency of coalition politics in the meeting, reported Mathrubhumi news channel on Thursday. Meeting reporters after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Vijayan said that the CPI’s act was unprecedented and should not have happened.

In response, CPI assistant secretary Prakash Babu said his party was not taking any credit for the resignation of a minister from its own government. The CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had told reporters on Wednesday that his party was well aware that the act was unprecedented, but blamed the CPM for forcing it to do so. The CPI was opposed to Chandy attending the cabinet meeting.

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