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Jose Mani says will quit RS, part ways with UDF in Kerala
Kottayam, October 14, 2020
After months of speculation, Kerala Congress (Mani) leader and late KM Mani's son Jose K Mani on Wednesday announced his decision to resign his Rajya Sabha seat, part ways with the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) and join hands with the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).
With this, the 38-year-long association of unified Kerala Congress (Mani) with the UDF, of which K M Mani was a founding member, has come to an end.
Jose, a Rajya Sabha member since 2018, won the seat in the Upper House when his party was in the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). He said he decided to quit as it was morally expected of him.
"So far, we have not held any discussions with the LDF. We have laid out our political stand. Now, we will wait to hear from them. We were stabbed in the back in the UDF," Jose said soon after his meeting with top party office-bearers.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist had asked Jose to make the first move to join the LDF.
A similar situation had emerged when late KM Mani had decided to function as an independent bloc in the Assembly in 2016 after breaking from the UDF. At that time, the CPI had strongly opposed it.
In 2018, KM Mani returned to the UDF fold after a Rajya Sabha seat was offered to his party. He asked Jose to resign from the Lok Sabha a year ahead of his term's end and contest the Rajya Sabha seat, which he won.
After the death of KM Mani last year, the party split into two factions -- one led by party veteran legislator P J Joseph and the other by Jose Mani. The Joseph faction's strength came down to two legislators after the death of veteran MLA CF Thomas last month. The Mani faction also has two MLAs.
Jose said that they were treated with disdain in UDF, especially by a section in the Congress.
"... we did not get justice from the UDF as they stood behind Joseph. We too have self-respect... we feel the LDF is the best bet for us as our stands on various issues match," Jose said.
Reacting to the development, Joseph said Jose should now make clear who stabbed him in the back. "He indulged in indiscipline in the UDF. It was the CPI-M that abused KM Mani all through... Jose has thrown a challenge and we accept it," said Joseph.
UDF convener M M Hassan said Jose's departure will have no impact on the UDF.
Now, the ball is in the CPI-M's court. An earlier attempt by KM Mani to enter the LDF was strongly opposed by the CPI, the second biggest party in the ruling alliance. Now it remains to be seen how the Left welcomes Jose and his party into the LDF.