Kerala Congress (M) keeps cards close to chest ahead of conference

 The Kerala Congress (M) is gearing up for a mega-conference in Kottayam from December 14 to 16. After the mega conclave held at Charalkunnu in Pathanamthitta on August 7, 2016

Published: 08th December 2017 01:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2017 11:11 AM   |  A+A-

Flex boards, flags and banners put up in Kottayam town as part of the mega conference of the KC(M) | Vishnu Prathap

Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: The Kerala Congress (M) is gearing up for a mega-conference in Kottayam from December 14 to 16. After the mega conclave held at Charalkunnu in Pathanamthitta on August 7, 2016, where a decision was taken to sever the party’s 35 year-long association with the UDF, political centres are keeping their fingers crossed over the outcome of the new conference.

Though, KC (M) chairman K M Mani had earlier declared the party would announce its political stance in the conference to be held in December, he later changed his stance and said there wouldn’t be any major announcements in Kottayam. Senior party leaders also echoed such an opinion as the time was not ripe for taking a major decision considering the prevailing political condition in the state.

“There won’t be any political decision in this conference,” said a senior leader. We have enough time to take a stance on associating with any of the political fronts. We will take a decision before the next Parliament election. This conference is to mobilise our party cadres which is essential for us while not being part of the UDF or the LDF.” 

Moreover, the CPM and the CPI, the two major partners of the LDF, are busy with its periodical party conferences, and the KC (M) cannot even initiate talks on their berth in the Left camp. Although, the CPM views the KC (M) as a potential tool to tame the CPI, which is consistently creating troubles for the former, a policy decision can be taken only after their conferences conclude in April, 2018.
Political dilemma or lack of consensus?

Sixteen months after KC (M) walked out of UDF, the party is still divided over joining any of the political fronts. A section - which strongly believes the Congress deceived them, especially party leader Mani in the bar bribery case - wanted to join the LDF fold, while others, including some senior leaders are of the view that going back to the UDF is safe for keeping their conventional votes intact. With both sides equally strong in their stance, taking a decision will be a vexed affair for the leadership. “It is a fact the CPM strongly wants the KC (M) in its ranks for multiple factors, including to enhance their base in central Travancore as well as retaining power for one more period. However, the UDF, especially the Congress is also in need of us more than the CPM, to come return to power,” said an insider. 

The KC (M) leadership aims to commence the talks, keeping alive the demands in both the LDF and the UDF. Significantly, the KC (M) seemingly dropped its plans to go with the BJP-led NDA at least for the time being.Even though speculations are rampant over the announcement of Jose K Mani as the new party chairman in the upcoming meeting, there is little chance for a change of guard in the party in the near future. As per the party constitution, the KC (M)’s state committee is the body which elects its chairman. However, in the three-day conference, a state committee meeting is not on the schedule. 

“It is a fact that Jose K Mani has already emerged as a power centre in the party with his political and organisational skills. He has been the chief organiser of party conferences and other party programmes for the past few years. However, he is unlikely to take the mantle at least for the time being,” said a leader.

No plan to accommodate KC (M) in LDF: Kanam 

Idukki/Kottayam: Taking a stand against the alleged attempt by KC(M) to find a berth in the LDF camp, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said there was no situation prevailing to include the party in LDF. “The LDF does not want to accommodate the party of a politician who is an accused in solar scam,” he told reporters in Cheruthoni on Thursday. “The LDF came to power after staging protests against the corruption of KC(M) leader K M Mani. There is no new development here to invite KC(M) with honour to LDF,” he said. KC(M) slammed Kanam’s statement. “KC(M) is not waiting for a berth in any of the political fronts after submitting an application. Being a party with character and influence among the people, KC(M) dismisses Kanam’s statement with contempt,” said party general secretary N Jayaraj.

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