KOCHI: The Kerala Congress (Secular) has officially split ties with Kerala Congress (M), in protest against KC(M) chairman K M Mani’s refusal to resign as Finance and Law Minister following corruption allegations.
It was a move widely rumoured in the political corridors since Kerala Congress (M) vice-chairman P C George was removed from the post of Chief Whip after he raised allegations against K M Mani and his son Jose K Mani. George, who led the KC(Secular), before its merger with the KC(M), during the last Assembly election, was reportedly in talks with his followers for the revival of the party.
However, the revamped Kerala Congress (Secular) will not have George in its official ranks. T S John, a known confidante of George who was chairman of the party before the merger, has been named the chairman of the KC (S). “We will function as an independent party, but will stick to the UDF whip and work for the UDF in the upcoming local body polls,” said the 74-year-old John.
He said George would extend his full support to the party, while continuing in the Kerala Congress (M) to avoid disqualification under the Anti-defection Law. “On the grounds of defection to another political party, George could be disqualified under provisions of the Anti-defection Law. When it is the right time, he will come out,” said John. If disqualified, George will not be able to contest elections for the next six years. By the time, two elections will be over, pushing him to oblivion in politics for the next ten years.
While announcing the new office-bearers of the party in all districts, John said in Kochi on Saturday that M T Joseph and George Kuruvilla would be the working chairman and treasurer of the new party, respectively. He said that all the district presidents of the former ‘Secular’ party had approved the decision to come out of the Mani Group, except the the Ernakulam district former president who is member of another organisation now. When asked whether they would attend the KC(M) high-level meeting in all the 14 districts, which George had announced earlier as the vice-chairman of the party, John said that none of the members of the new party would attend the meetings.
“We will focus on the activities of the party independently, especially on launching an anti-corruption movement against ‘Mani and Co’. There is no democracy in the KC(M). No minister has ever continued in his position even after his name figured in an FIR on corruption charges. Why is Mani not filing a petition to quash the FIR? There is a lot of murmurs going on within the UDF camp regarding these issues, and someone has to say that the ‘king is naked’,” said John.
“We will launch an anti-corruption movement across the State soon,” he said.