The rift in the United Democratic Front (UDF) came out in the open on Wednesday when the faction led by Jose K Mani announced its departure. The Kerala Congress (M) faction led by Jose K Mani has announced to break its decades-old ties with the Congress-led UDF in the state and work closely with the ruling CPI-M led LDF. Party leader Jose K Mani also said that he would also give up the membership of the Rajya Sabha won with the help of the UDF.
Jose K. Mani said that this change should not be taken lightly. The challenge is with the UDF. The announcement to leave the UDF was based on strong allegations against the Congress. Jose K. Mani’s words without saying that the UDF will not get the rule anymore. When the UDF came to power, the Kerala Congress played a major role in central Travancore. Jose K. Mani said that this is a change that will change the course of Kerala politics.
“What we have declared now is the party’s decision and this has come as unconditional. The discussions with the LDF will kick off from now onwards and our association with the LDF is going to change the political landscape of Kerala forever,” Mani replied, to a query on the terms of his alignment with the left parties.
Jose K Mani also attacked the UDF and Congress for its alleged betrayal of the party founder by K.M.Mani, as he said, “A few within the Congress unleashed a personal attack on me and extended support to P.J.Joseph for hijacking the KC(M). As a party founded on the principles laid down by K.M.Mani, we could not stand this for long and hence decided to leave the UDF.”
Responding to Mani’s decision, PJ Joseph, leader of the rival KC(M) faction, Mani was joining hands with the group that had hunted down his father. “Mani left the UDF on his own by raising false allegations and now he looks to join those who prevented his father from presenting the state budget. Worse still, he is joining them without any understanding over the Pala and Kanjirappally seats,” Joseph said.
It is been speculated that Jose’s arrival in the local elections will be more beneficial to the Left than the Assembly elections. The second-tier leaders of the Jose faction are looking at the possibility of joining the Left in more seats than they get when they stand with Joseph in the UDF. The CPM and Pinarayi see Jose and his cohorts as a stepping stone to a dream. The CPI (M) hopes that the arrival of a strong Kerala Congress will help improve its influence in Central Travancore, especially in the Christian community.