Kerala politics to see twist as CPI-M woos Jose K. Mani

"Though we are not party to any conflict in the Congress led UDF, in case any party decides to come out of the UDF, depending on their ideology and their outlook, we the Left, will take an appropriate decision," wrote Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in the Friday edition of the CPI-M's party organ, 'Deshabhimani'.

Thiruvananthapuram: The million dollar question now doing the rounds is will the CPI-M give its nod for the entry of the faction in the Kerala Congress (Mani) led by late K.M. Mani's son Jose K.Mani into the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

In the Friday edition of the CPI-M's party organ, 'Deshabhimani', State CPI-M secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan for the first time made their intent clear and has given enough indications that they will do anything to weaken both the Congress led UDF and the BJP led NDA.

"Though we are not party to any conflict in the Congress led UDF, in case any party decides to come out of the UDF, depending on their ideology and their outlook, we the Left, will take an appropriate decision," wrote Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

This question has been in the air for a while now and it was there even when K.M. Mani was alive, soon after he and his party decided to sit as an independent bloc in 2016 and broke away from the Congress led UDF. At that time, stiff opposition surfaced after the second biggest ally in the Left - the Communist Party of India - strongly opposed it.

But things cooled down and K.M. Mani in 2018 made a return to the UDF after a Rajya Sabha seat was given to him. Quick to take up the offer he asked Jose K. Mani to resign from the Lok Sabha, even when there was a year left, and contest the Rajya Sabha seat which he won.

But following the death of K.M. Mani last year, for all practical purposes, the two factions - one led by party veteran P.J. Joseph and the other by Jose K. Mani behaved like two different entities.

While Joseph has three legislators, his rival faction has two. The last nail in the coffin of the erstwhile party was driven when the Pala seat, during a by-election to the Kerala Assembly, was lost to the Left and the prime reason was the factional feud. The Pala seat had been held by K.M. Mani for 52 years.

Since that by-election both Joseph and Jose K. Mani have not seen eye to eye. In June, despite numerous warnings issued to the Jose K. Mani faction to vacate a local body seat, it did not do so and UDF convenor Benny Behanan announced that the Jose K. Mani faction has been ousted from the UDF.

A day later Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala tried to play down the ouster and said no such decision has been taken.

The Jose K. Mani faction also made their intent clear when his two legislators decided to stay away from both the August 24 Rajya Sabha poll and the no-confidence motion moved by the UDF against the Pinarayi Vijayan government.

With Kodiyeri Balakrishnan making things very clear in his article in the party organ, it appears it won't be long before the Jose K. Mani faction gets the official nod for its entry into the Left Democratic Front.

However if it happens, the CPI-M will have some explaining to do, more than Jose K. Mani. When K.M. Mani presented his 13th state budget in 2015, the Kerala Assembly witnessed the worst ever scenes when the now present Left which was in the opposition, went on a rampage and threw away the Speaker's chair and damaged his computer.

The then Left opposition, in which Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the deputy leader of the opposition, had for months been demanding the resignation of K.M. Mani in the bar scam and had termed him as the most corrupt politician and had vowed they will not allow him to present the state budget.

State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran said what the CPI-M is now doing is nothing but political opportunism and it can be seen from their new found love for Kerala Congress (Jose K. Mani).

"Wish to find out if they have forgotten their violent tirades against K.M. Mani and the way they hounded him. This is the best example of how the CPI-M makes political gains out of circumstances," said Mullapally Ramachandran.


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