Schism in the Kerala Congress(Mani) [KC(M)] and the United Democratic Front (UDF) decision to expel the Jose K. Mani faction from the front for refusing to abide by its diktat would have its rumblings in the the Rajya Sabha election on August 24.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to firm up its stance, but its lone member O. Rajagopal may abstain from voting to reiterate the party’s stance against both fronts.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) with 89 members is set to romp home comfortably, but if two of the five Kerala Congress(M) members who have aligned with Mr. Mani — Roshy Augustine and N. Jayaraj — decide to vote for the LDF or the UDF, it would be quite decisive for both fronts ahead of the local body and Assembly elections.
The fortunes of the UDF in central Kerala largely vests on the KC(M) stance. Having the party again on board would anger P.J. Joseph and if he decides to quit, it would only compound the internal dissensions in the front ahead of the two elections.
The LDF leadership has clarified that it has not opened any parleys with the Mani faction. Moreover, the front could win the seat on its own strength.
Mr. Mani has expressed his resolve to remain independent for the time being. After expelling the Mani faction, the UDF seems to have had second thoughts and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said on Thursday that the faction had not been officially ousted from the front. But he was not clear whether the two legislators would vote for the UDF.
Mr. Chennithala also went a step ahead and said that the BJP would only vote for the LDF.
Since the election is being held at a time when COVID-19 spread was impeding the smooth movement, even if the KC(M) MLAs do not turn up for the election the UDF could use it as a premise to mask its embarrassment.