Kerala

LDF admits Mani faction into the coalition

Jose K. Mani  

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) on Monday inducted the Jose. K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) into the ruling coalition.

Mr. Mani’s inclusion comes barely four months after the United Democratic Front (UDF) announced that the faction had lost the right to continue in the front.

Bickering over the chairpersonship of the Kottayam district panchayat with the KC(M) group headed by P.J. Joseph had paved the way for Mr. Mani’s acrimonious exit from the UDF and subsequent entry into the LDF.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were initially unsympathetic to the proposal.

The CPI(M) leadership smoothened out the process by persuading the CPI and the NCP to shed their frostiness towards Mr. Mani. It also managed to overcome the CPI suggestion to test Mr. Mani’s electoral sway in Central Travancore in the upcoming local body elections before admitting him into the coalition.

The Election Commission of India’s decision toe award the ‘Two Leaf’ symbol to Mr. Mani also hastened his admittance.

Oppn. flays it

The Congress maintained that the arrangement was patently incongruous. The CPI(M) and the KC(M) had differed on every political issue for the last 39 years. Both parties did not see eye-to-eye at the grassroots level. KC(M) workers would reject the pact Mr. Mani has struck with the CPI(M), Congress sources said.

The Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) said political expediency and not principle had prompted the LDF to embrace Mr. Mani.

LDF convener A. Vijayaraghavan denied that Mr. Mani’s inclusion was political trading ahead of the elections. The KC(M) had joined the LDF unconditionally to advance the secular and pro-farmer policies of the front. The admittance of the KC(M) was a watershed in the history of coalition politics in Kerala, he said.

It signalled that the traditional base of the KC(M) had abandoned the Congress-led UDF for the LDF. They despised the UDF for playing second fiddle to the BJP, and their ire will reflect in elections, he said.

LDF claim

Mr. Mani’s entry has improved the fighting chances of the LDF in the citadels of the UDF. The expansion of the front would ensure a second consecutive term for the LDF government, he claimed.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan also dispelled scepticism that the KC(M) and the Left parties would make uneasy bedfellows given their decades-old political antagonism.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 2:49:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ldf-admits-mani-faction-into-the-coalition/article32919438.ece

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