KOTTAYAM: A week after the United Democratic Front (UDF) excluded the Jose K Mani-led faction, taking a political decision remains a confusing proposition for the Kerala Congress (M) leadership.
While Jose and his team were warming up to the idea of shifting allegiance to the LDF camp, the CPI’s aggressive stand over inducting KC(M) and the informal attempts by a couple of senior UDF leaders to bring Jose back into the UDF fold have deepened the muddle. As a result, the party leadership has postponed its steering committee meeting, originally slated to be convened on Wednesday.
Though Jose, the party chairman, cited Covid-related restrictions as a reason for the postponement, the leadership is struggling to arrive at a conclusion on its political stance.Addressing media persons in Pala on Monday, Jose said his party would continue as an ally of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the national level, but refrained from making any critical comment against the CPM-led LDF government in the state. He was responding to reporters’ query on CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran’s statement that the LDF leadership would consider admitting KC (M) if Jose and team approaches the LDF after relinquishing its Parliament seats, which they secured as an ally of UDF.
“The situation doesn’t warrant a reply to Kanam Rajendran. We have taken a political decision to stand as an independent party after the UDF expelled us. There is no change in our stance. At the same time, we are still part of the UPA, which is based on the national scenario. The KC (M) had taken the same stance while leaving the UDF in 2016,” Jose said.
It is learnt the Jose faction was left in a dilemma after senior UDF leaders P K Kunhalikkutty and Oommen Chandy contacted them over phone to resolve the issues between Jose and the UDF. However, the UDF leadership has not made any official effort towards that end. There are many who believe that Jose has fallen victim to the group politics in the Congress. Hence, bringing back Jose to the UDF depends on the outcome of the political tussle between ‘A’ and ‘I’ factions within the Congress.
At the same time, expulsion from the UDF has given an unexpected advantage to Jose as even the Catholic Church is unhappy with UDF’s decision.“The Church, which had earlier opposed Jose’s plans to join the LDF camp, has changed its stance in view of the unilateral decision of the UDF leadership,” said a Jose faction leader on condition of anonymity.But the strong opposition from the CPI is preventing the CPM from moving ahead with its plans to use Jose as a bridge to the Catholic vote base in the state, especially in Central Travancore. The CPM has already initiated steps to reconcile a belligerent CPI.