THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As factional feud within the Kerala Congress continues, the Left Democratic Front in Kerala is leaving no stone unturned in wooing PJ Joseph back to the Left fold. Sensing a timely opportunity, the CPM-led LDF has been sending subtle hints to the Joseph group in the wake of the Pala byelection. Though the Joseph faction might not actually sever ties with the UDF for now, keeping the issue alive would prove to be beneficial for the LDF in the Pala bypoll.
The Joseph faction was part of the LDF for a long time and was even part of the VS Achuthanandan government. Joseph later merged his party with KM Mani’s Kerala Congress (M) to be part of the UDF. In recent times however, Joseph has been finding it difficult to coexist with the Jose K Mani faction within the KC(M).
During the recent Lok Sabha polls, Joseph had eyed the Kottayam constituency. KM Mani, however, sidelined him and brought in Thomas Chazhikkadan as the UDF candidate. The unrest within the KC(M) only worsened after Mani’s demise. The Pala bypoll is now witnessing a tussle between the Joseph and Jose K Mani factions.
With Joseph yet to establish a stronghold within the KC(M) post Mani’s demise, it is no wonder that Left leaders are now trying to woo him back into their fold. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has already urged Joseph to quit the UDF. Referring to the protest against Joseph at the UDF convention, Kodiyeri said no other UDF leader must have found himself in such a pathetic state. “There was a strong sentiment against Joseph at the UDF meet.
If he has got some self-respect, Joseph should immediately sever ties with the UDF,” said Kodiyeri. The CPM state secretary also challenged PJ Joseph to clarify his political stance in this regard. “So far Joseph has not taken any political stance against the UDF’s bigoted approach. The UDF did not accept his candidate in Pala. Jose Mani is yet to openly indulge in a political tussle against Joseph. Unless they make their political stance clear, the Left front is not interested in such controversies,” said Kodiyeri.
The Left front knows that neither Joseph nor Jose K Mani will leave the Kerala Congress any time soon. However, keeping the tempo over the factional feud alive is important for the Left, as it could be a major point of discussion during the Pala bypoll.It could create the impression that the fight between P J Joseph and Jose K Mani is the biggest issue in the by-election, and thereby LDF hopes to get an edge in the elections.
Referring to the protest against P J Joseph at the UDF convention, Kodiyeri Balakrisnan had said no other UDF leader must have found himself in such a pathetic state.