Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy on Sunday distanced the UDF from the repercussions of the proposed merger of Kerala Congress (Joseph) with the Mani faction and said the Kerala Congress (Mani) would have to take full responsibility for all possible consequences in future, on account of the merger, if they want to treat the it as an internal matter of the party.

Speaking to the media here on Sunday, Mr. Chandy put the onus on Mr. Mani’s shoulder and made it clear that the KC (M) was ploughing a lonely furrow on the merger issue by resisting the call for a discussion within the UDF on the matter. “The Congress party was unanimous in seeking a discussion in the UDF on the matter. However, when informed of the matter Mr. Mani he had expressed his reservations,” Mr. Chandy said.

According to him, he was in contact with other coalition partners and they too were of opinion that the matter should be discussed within the UDF. “If they (Kerala Congress leaders) are adamant that it is an internal matter and as such did not merit a discussion in the UDF, let it be like that. But they would have to bear the pros and cons of the issue on their own. Other coalition partners would not have any thing to do with it in the future,” Mr. Chandy said.

Mr. Chandy reiterated his stance that unlike mergers earlier, the UDF partners had a different opinion on the Kerala Congress merger issue as the Joseph faction was the one against which the UDF had launched a

series of agitations on corruption issue. Many UDF activists were still facing police cases on the matter.

The UDF had a tradition of taking unanimous decisions on all contentious matters. “In this case too, we prefer such a settlement. However, if the Kerala Congress was so adamant, we agree to disagree and allow them to take full responsibility for the merger and its future consequences,” he said.

Reacting to a question, he said his statement was not against any party or individual leader. “The people were looking forward to the UDF with great expectations. The results of the last Parliament elections underlines this trend. The UDF and its partners should move forward fully conscious of the fact that the people have entrusted in them a great responsibility.”

“This is a clear and firm decision”, he said.

To another question, Mr. Chandy said he did not believe that the bishops played any role in the Kerala Congress merger. The allegations raised by the CPI (M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in this regard were baseless, he said.

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