Home / India News / Left is right, says Chief Minister Vijayan after Kerala Congress (Mani) ditches UDF to join LDF
With just six months to go for the assembly election in Kerala, the state witnessed a political realignment on Wednesday after the Kerala Congress (Mani) faction crossed over to the ruling Left Democratic Front.
Party chairman Jose K Mani also announced his resignation from the Rajya Sabha. He had won the seat with the support of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) two years ago. The party is severing its ties with the UDF after 38 years. But the UDF has asked the party to quit Kottayam Lok Sabha seat and two MLA seats which it won with the help of the opposition alliance.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan welcomed the new ally and said it will strengthen secular and democratic forces in the state. “It shows the Left is right in Kerala,” he said. The entry of the Kerala Congress, a predominantly Christian party will help the LDF in the central Travancore area that is considered a UDF bastion, political observers said.
“We have been suffering in the UDF camp for some time. Congress leaders repeatedly ill-treated us and openly supported our archrival P J Joseph who used all opportunities to discredit our party. Our entry into the LDF is without any condition,” said Jose K Mani in Kottayam while announcing the decision.
The Mani faction has a single Lok Saha MP – Thomas Chazhikadan from Kottayam while Jose K Mani was a Rajya Sabha MP . It also has two legislators in the Kerala assembly. The Kerala Congress (Mani) split into two after the death of its founder K M Mani in 2019 but both groups remained in the UDF camp.
The party split last year after KM Mani’s son Jose K Mani became the chairman of the party ignoring senior leader P J Joseph’s claim to the post. But the Congress brokered peace between two factions for some time.
At one point when Mani was alive he was ready to cross over to the LDF camp but it was thwarted by the CPI, second big partner in the LDF.
The BJP which is desperate to get a foothold in Kerala, also tried to woo Jose K Mani but he finally chose the LDF. There are reports that one of the party legislators will be given a cabinet berth in the Vijayan cabinet.
“It is a political betrayal. The party will have to quit all seats it won with UDF support. Left hounded K M Mani when he was alive and now his son is taking the party to that camp,” said UDF convenor M M Hassan. He said it would not affect the opposition alliance. His rival P J Joseph, a former minister, said Jose K Mani’s exit was on the cards and it will only strengthen the UDF. Most of the popular leaders of the party are still with the Joseph camp.