| Thiruvanathapuram |
Updated: October 14, 2020 2:07:54 pm
Kerala Congress (M), a long ally of Congress, on Wednesday announced its decision to join hands with CPI(M)-led LDF. The faction leader of the regional Christian party, Jose K Mani, said he would quit as member of Rajya Sabha, a seat he had bagged as a nominee of Congress-led United Democratic Front.
The decision to quit UDF and move towards LDF is a fallout of a power struggle between Jose and senior party leader Joseph, a state MLA. Jose is the son of veteran Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani, who died in 2019. The power struggle between Jose and Joseph surfaced last year over a party candidate in the bypoll to Pala, the home constituency of late K M Mani. After Jose’s nominee was defeated in the bypoll last year, factionalism within the Christian-dominated party had intensified. Congress has favoured Joseph in the intra-party squabble within Kerala Congress (M), leading to a slow exit of Jose from the UDF.
Jose told the media in Kottayam that his faction was joining the LDF without any conditions. “Congress insulted K M Mani and wanted to destroy his legacy. Congress has backstabbed the Kerala Congress. We have been facing injustice and insult from the Congress.,” he said.
For the last few months, CPI (M) has since been trying to woo the splinter group of Kerala Congress (M), expecting to make electoral gains from districts such as Kottayam and Idukki, where KC (M) has influence. Several CPI (M) leaders have publicly stated that the Jose faction’s support would help LDF in the ensuing civic polls, as well as the Assembly elections next year.
During the last Assembly elections in 2016, CPI (M) had played to hilt the bar bribery scandal involving K M Mani, who had been the finance minister during the previous UDF regime. CPI (M) had led a massive protest against Mani, who was forced to quit as the minister in November 2015.
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