The CPI(M) on Friday indicated that it is open to accommodate the Kerala Congress group led by the party’s Rajya Sabha member Jose K Mani to the ruling Left Democratic Front.
A faction led by Jose was ousted from the Congress-led United Democratic Front earlier this week over its failure to honour an intra-party deal in Kottayam district.
Under the previous Congress-led UDF government, CPI(M) had raised storm over the bar bribery scandal involving Jose’s father and KC(M) founder K M Mani. The issue of the scandal, which led to the exit of Mani as a minister, was played up by CPI(M) in the 2016 Assembly elections.
But with local body elections scheduled in October-November and Assembly polls in April-May next year, the CPI(M) seems to be wooing the splinter group of the regional Christian party.
After the party secretariat met on Friday, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the media that the party wants to expand LDF’s base before the Assembly polls. “There would not be a situation in which Jose K Mani returned to UDF again. Jose has influence in certain areas, and the bar bribery scandal is not an issue now,” he said. “Let Jose make clear his political stand. The CPI(M) and the LDF would take a decision after that.”
The KC(M), which has influence in Kottayam and Idukki districts, has six legislators in the Assembly and a Lok Sabha member. However, Jose has support of only a section of the party’s leaders.
Meanwhile, UDF convener Benny Behanan said Jose can return to the Congress-led front if he honours the commitment over the post of the district panchayat president in Kottayam.
As per the deal within KC(M), Jose’s nominee should have given way for party veteran P J Joseph’s nominee to become the district panchayat president in the last leg of the term.
Removal of the Jose faction from the UDF had been a fallout of a power struggle between Joseph and Jose after the death of the latter’s father, K M Mani, last year. In the by-election held to senior Mani’s constituency, Pala, Joseph had revolted against Jose’s nominee, who eventually got defeated in the party fiefdom.
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