Kerala

Congress looks to strengthen its base in Kottayam

Even as the Kerala Congress (M) faction led by Jose K. Mani is yet to clear the air about its next move, the Congress has kick-started efforts to fill the vacuum created by the faction’s exit from the United Democratic Front.

According to sources, the Congress has launched all-out efforts to poach UDF sympathisers from the estranged partner. Though the Mani camp has not made any formal announcement regarding its association with the Left Democratic Front, the Congress has reached out to some KC(M) leaders and the rank and file, who may have apprehension about the party’s reported move to the Left camp and look to reconcile with the UDF.

The other day, Congress leaders led by Oommen Chandy and Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan held a discussion in this regard with the party district unit in Kottayam.

“The chaotic exit of the Mani group appears to have created a new political fissure that seems unbridgeable, at least for the time being. For the Congress, the break-up sounds alluringly like a golden opportunity to overcome the discontentment among its workers about playing second fiddle to a regional party in the district,” a party leader said.

He said the party had entrusted workers on the mandalam and block committees to hold talks with KC(M) workers at the grassroots level. To make most of the opportunity, the party would highlight the ‘bitter treatment’ of K.M. Mani, founder-leader of the KC(M), by the Left parties in the bar bribery case, among other things.

Speculation is also rife about some from the Mani group switching sides to the rival faction led by P.J. Joseph, predictably with the support of some senior Congress leaders.

The attempts to put on a brave face notwithstanding, the stay order issued by the High Court of Kerala on the Central Election Commission’s order allotting the party symbol has come at the most inopportune time for the Mani faction.

Though legal options are being explored, it may take time to lift the stay order and this is expected to have an impact on the party’s discussions with the LDF.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 3:33:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/congress-looks-to-strengthen-its-base-in-kottayam/article32589246.ece

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