THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Indicating he is in favour of bringing K M Mani back to the UDF fold, IUML national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty said he is willing to take up the role of a mediator if required.
“Let the time come, I will definitely take the initiative if it is required of me. Let the time come, time is not ripe yet,” he said in a chat with Express. “The League had made its stand clear right from the beginning - the UDF has to stay intact, all the original constituents should stick together.”
Since the issue was between the Congress and the Kerala Congress, especially in the backdrop of the developments in Kottayam, he said the opinion of the Congress is of paramount importance and the final decision has to be taken by the Kerala Congress (M) leadership.
“I’m optimistic of a positive outcome,” said the veteran who has successfully donned the mantle of a mediator in many crisis situations in the UDF. Mani had met Kunhalikutty on Thursday and the leaders held closed-door discussions at the CH Centre.
Sources indicate Mani is apprehensive of his son Jose K Mani’s future. Mani and Kerala Congress fear a backlash from Congressmen in the next Lok Sabha elections as they are not sure of unequivocal support from Congress cadre even if they return to the UDF.
The relations between the Congress and the KC(M) took a turn for the worse following the latter’s surprise move to seize the post of president of Kottayam district panchayat with the CPM support, upsetting its understanding with the Congress
The local Congress leadership, with the blessings of the state leaders, had declared enough is enough and there need be no place for Mani and his son in the UDF. Though there are reports of the CPM continuing to woo Mani ignoring the opposition of the CPI, the move from a section of KC(M) workers to switch to the Left camp has been put in the deep freezer and the party is playing the wait-and-watch game. The Congress leadership too has climbed down from its militant stand after intervention from the high command and the Muslim League leadership, both of which do not want Mani to be hijacked by the Left or the NDA camps.
Mani’s reported move towards the Left met with stiff resistance from inside as well and the party was heading for a split when the veteran strategically retracted. On the national front, Kunhalikutty felt the time is ripe for the Opposition parties to rally together to counter the BJP. Asked about contradictions in Bengal and Kerala, he said all that can be overcome.
“There is not much of a contradiction in Bengal now. The biggest contradiction is in Kerala. A way has to be found around that. Even while fighting each other here, the Congress and the Left can come together in Delhi as they had done during UPA I. Finding an alternative to the BJP is imperative and the signs are good. Parties have started coming together. We have seen Rahul Gandhi intervening in various issues, including the farmers’ agitation. We can soon see a united platform nationally,” Kunhalikutty said.