Apart from boosting its morale ahead of Lok Sabha polls, the Congress-led UDF Government led by Oommen Chandy in Kerala has emerged stronger due to RSP's decision to quit LDF and strike electoral ties with the ruling front.
The strength of the Chandy government, which has a thin majority of 73 in the 140-member Assembly, will go upto 75 with RSP, having 2 MLAs, formally joining UDF in the coming days.
It was with a slender margin of 72 seats that Chandy came to power in 2011, defeating LDF. Within a year, UDF's tally slightly went up with CPI(M) MLA R Selvaraj resigning from the party and later winning a by-election on the Congress ticket.
According to political commentator Jacob George, the surprise move of the RSP, which came as a rude shock to the CPI(M), has made Chandy more powerful at a time when his ministry is faced with problems from recalcitrant allies like Kerala Congress (Mani) over the Western Ghats issue.
Ironically, the development came when LDF has been boasting of having stolen a march over the rival in getting ready the candidates list, which comprises a couple of rebel Congress leaders, a leading cine actor and a retired civil servant. It also cast a shadow over CPI(M)'s move to put up its polit bureau member M A Baby in the Kollam seat. The party was planning to project Baby as a key contestant who would play a prominent role in the national parliamentary politics in the event of his winning. The entry of RSP leader N K Premachandran as the UDF- backed contestant in Kollam is certain to turn the fight for CPI(M) a grim one.
Kollam is already a sitting seat of the Congress, won by N Peethambara Kurup in 2009. The CPI(M) would now find it difficult to make up the loss of RSP votes in the area.
The RSP's desertion of the LDF will made a key campaign theme by UDF against its rival, arguing that smaller partners could not survive in a coalition controlled by the "big brother CP(M)," UDF sources said.
Meanwhile, LDF leaders are meeting here to review the situation and work out strategies to offset the political impact of the development