UDF unfazed by Mani’s defection

A meeting of the United Democratic Front (UDF) here on Thursday settled that the desertion of the alliance by the Jose. K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) would scarcely dent the electoral prospects of the opposition alliance in central Travancore in the forthcoming local body and Assembly elections.

Mr Mani’s arch-rival in the KC (M), P. J. Joseph, reportedly assured the meeting that the party's traditional base was unlikely to shift its loyalty to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) merely because an individual leader had played turncoat.

Mr Joseph ‘claimed’ that KC (M) workers were abandoning Mr. Mani in the heartland of the party in Kottayam. The trickle would soon become a flood.

Mr. Joseph reportedly exuded confidence that the UDF would hold its ground against the ruling front despite Mr. Mani’s shift in political allegiance.

It noted that the CPI had reservations about Mr. Mani's inclusion. So did the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) whose Pala seat was at stake given Mr. Mani’s strong pitch for the constituency.

NCP leader and Pala MLA Mani. C. Kappan ‘feared’ that Mr. Mani would displace him. So did other Kerala Congress splinter groups in the LDF.

IUML leader, P. K. Kunhalikutty reportedly opined that Mr. Mani would be hard-pressed to explain his defection to KC(M) supporters.

Moreover, the political atmosphere was conducive to a UDF win, and traditional UDF voters in central Travancore had little incentive to give the Pinarayi Vijayan government a second term in office.

At a media briefing later, UDF convenor M. M Hassan demanded that Mr. Mani give up the Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats his faction had won at the expense of the opposition alliance.

Mr. Mani's defection has accorded no political advantage to the LDF. The UDF would meet on November 23 in Kochi to weigh the political situation. Forward Bloc national secretary G. Devarajan and CMP leader C. P. John were among those present.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 7:26:55 AM |

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