The writing on the wall becomes clearer for Jose K Mani, son of late KM Mani, one of the founders of the Congress-led United Democratic Front. The development comes close after the UDF decides to hand over the Kuttanad assembly seat to his rival faction led by senior party legislator PJ Joseph.
The erstwhile Kerala Congress (Mani), the third biggest ally of the UDF, has for a while been existing as two different parties: one led by Joseph and the other by Mani.
Speaking to the media soon after the high-powered UDF meeting, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said it was unfortunate that Jose K Mani’s attitude towards the UDF, after the death of KM Mani went against the basic ethics of the UDF.
“We have by now exhausted all our energy in discussing and then waiting for him to turn around from his repeated acts of indiscipline. There was an agreement that his faction should demit the post of a local body in favour of Joseph’s faction, but despite numerous requests he did not do so. Then came further disobedience, when his faction did not turn up the day the assembly took up a no-confidence motion against the Pinarayi government and defied the UDF whip to vote for our candidate at the by-election to the Rajya Sabha,” said Chennithala.
“We tried our best to carry him, but he has been defying us and hence we decided not to call him for UDF meetings. At today’s meeting, we decided to field the same candidates who contested the 2016 assembly polls for the upcoming by-elections: Shibhu Baby John of the RSP at Chavara and Jacob Abraham, who belongs to the Joseph faction. We lost these seats in 2016, but after the miserable governance of Vijayan, we are confident of regaining both seats,” said Chennithala.
Chennithala went a step further and told Jose K Mani that in case his faction decide to leave the UDF, they should quit the Rajya Sabha seat held by him and his party colleague Thomas Chazhikadan who won the Kottayam Lok Sabha seat.
With the UDF speaking tough, it’s only a matter of time before Jose K Mani’s faction walks into the ruling CPI-M led LDF, as Vijayan, State CPI-M secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and LDF convenor A. Vijayaraghavan have by now waved the green flag to him.
“The situation that prevailed when we opposed KM Mani in 2015 is no longer there now. Circumstances have all changed and that’s no longer an issue,” said Vijayaraghavan. (IANS)