KC(M) wins Kottayam Dist Panchayat with CPM support

It might be an action stemmed from a sharp sense of betrayal.

Last month, the Congress had invited KC (M) to return to the UDF, but party chairman K M Mani turned down the offer. "Mani and Jose K Mani, who fear the investigating agencies at the centre and the state, are conducting discussions with the NDA and the CPM in the state".

"It all depends on the Congress approach to win over the rank and file in a concerted manner without agitating them", he said.

This happened despite wide consultations held before this election between the Congress' top leaders in Kerala, including former CM Oommen Chandy and the Kerala Congress' KM Mani himself.

Speaking at the state assembly, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the UDF would also continue its campaign against Mani until he resigned from the state cabinet.

"I had clear information that at the time of the Malappuram Lok Sabha bypoll Mani had struck a deal with the CPM. Our party workers are fed up of listening to their abuses and the pained party workers decided not to go ahead with supporting the Congress", Mani said. "But only a few in the UDF and the Congress believed it", he said. The PJ Joseph faction had merged with the KC (M) in 2009 with the powerful Syro-Malabar church as the mediator. Mani later talked to Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikuty but rejected requests for cooperation from his former partners.

"The CPM will have to pay a heavy price - politically and electorally - for establishing any sort of association with Mani after baying for his blood in the past". And K Muralidharan stated that Jose K Mani can never hope to contest as the UDF candidate from Kottayam.

While the Congress has eight members in the 22-member district panchayat, the KC (M) and the CPM has six each.

What has, however, surprised everyone is how the CPI (M) has opportunistically chosen to back Mani's party after going to town with multiple allegations against Mani and also creating a huge ruckus in the Kerala Assembly to try and prevent Mani from presenting the Budget in 2015.

KC (M) had a year ago severed its ties with UDF following differences on the bar bribery scam, over which Mani was forced to resign as the Finance Minister.

"There can not be an alliance with Mani anymore".

A furious Congress accused the KC (M) drifting close to the CPM-led ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF). Mani has the right and freedom to associate with any faction.

Addressing a press meet on Thursday, Mani reiterated this stand.

  • Joey Payne