The Kerala Congress(M)’s focussed and high-voltage campaign for changes to the Kasturirangan report led to a fatigue of sorts, depriving it much of the leverage it might have got.

The Kerala Congress(M) appears to be reconciled to the fact that it may not get to contest the Idukki Lok Sabha seat despite its high-wire campaign for it. The party leadership continued to put up a brave front on Tuesday even after Congress leaders made it quite plain that the Congress had no other option but to contest the seat in a changed political context.

However, the party is not prepared to take a stance that would amount to breaking the United Democratic Front.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reportedly informed Mr. Mani and other Kerala Congress(M) leaders, who attended a UDF high-power committee meeting here, that the Congress had certain difficulties in giving up the seat.

Mr. Mani maintained that his party had a claim to the Idukki seat and the popular sentiment in the Lok Sabha constituency was in favour of the Kerala Congress(M).

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Mani said he had not given up hopes about getting the seat and further talks would be held. He said his party had asked for the seat in the context of the opposition to the Congress on the Kasturirangan report. The entry of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) into the UDF fold did complicate matters a bit for Mr. Mani, who was forced to agree to the move to admit the party as part of the ruling coalition’s attempt to consolidate anti-Marxist votes to all extent possible.

The Kerala Congress(M)’s focussed and high-voltage campaign for changes to the Kasturirangan report led to a fatigue of sorts, depriving it much of the leverage it might have got.

The publication of the draft notification giving effect to the changes in the Kasturirangan report took away whatever steam the agitation for it might have generated. Moreover, only the Congress party could take credit for getting the draft notification published and the thrust of Mr. Chandy’s press conference here was on this aspect.

The attitude of the Church was also a limiting factor for Mr. Mani and his party colleagues. The Church did not want to push the matter to such an extent that it might undermine the UDF, as the outcome of a meeting of bishops from the eco-sensitive areas in the high ranges proved.