Kerala

Mani faction ouster from UDF may boost LDF’s prospects

Latest developments offer advantage to ruling coalition, especially in central Travancore region

The simmering differences of opinion that culminated in the ouster of the Kerala Congress(M) faction led by Jose K. Mani from the United Democratic Front (UDF) would bolster the prospects of Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the run up to the local body elections.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has already expressed its willingness to engage any party, including a UDF ally on condition that it should quit the front and take a strong position. The CPI has not been so warm in welcoming any party to the LDF and has made its annoyance explicit too.

Whether the Kerala Congress Mani faction shifts its allegiance to the LDF or resolves to fight the local body elections on its own, it would offer a major political advantage to the front, especially in the central Travancore region and some of its strongholds in north Kerala where the settler farmers are a force to be reckoned with.

UDF prospects

The rift, that was waiting to erupt, may seriously impair the UDF prospects in these regions and its rumblings elsewhere too.

Accommodating the Kerala Congress factions of Mr. Mani and P.J. Joseph, without rocking the boat, was a tall order for the UDF and the schism would have deeply impacted its prospects in the elections in October.

Easing out Mr. Mani would not in any manner alter the situation in favour of the UDF and it would again have to tackle charges of political instability. The LDF would firm up its position only after a clear picture emerged.

Though the LDF was on the warpath against the late K.M. Mani on the bar bribery case, the issue remains a closed chapter and mending bridges is no more a tough proposition.

If Mr. Mani decides to contest the local body polls alone, the LDF may have a strategic understanding, much to the chagrin of the UDF, and that may graduate into a full-fledged alliance in the Assembly elections.

BJP stakes

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State unit does not seem to have much stakes in the emerging political scenario. Though the party is keen on enhancing its presence in the local bodies, the Mani faction is unlikely to opt for an understanding with the BJP, especially when it has better fortunes on holding hands with the LDF.

The BJP, while trying to retain the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena in its fold, may have little time to lure Mr. Mani’s faction to the National Democratic Alliance, especially when it is facing allegations from its allies that the NDA has become moribund.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 10:36:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mani-faction-ouster-from-udf-may-boost-ldfs-prospects/article31946732.ece

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