Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 22 : The Kerala Congress-Mani faction, led by Jose K. Mani, which had walked out of the Congress-led UDF, was on Thursday was officially accepted as the new constituent of the ruling CPI-M-led LDF.
This decision was just a formality after Jose Mani had called on the top leaders of the CPI-M and the second-biggest constituent, the CPI. At the Left Democratic Front meeting held here under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the green signal was given to accept the KC-M as its 11th member.
Jose Mani is the son of veteran leader K.M. Mani, who was one of the founders of the United Democratic Front. However since Mani's death last year, this party was deeply divided between the factions led Jose and veteran party legislator P.J.Joseph.
Addressing the reporters after the LDF meeting, convenor A. Vijayraghavan said this is a historic decision and will see the disintegration of the UDF.
"The arrival of Jose is without any precondition and it is based on ideology. The constituents of the LDF expressed their happiness in taking Jose into our fold. The first task would be to work jointly at the upcoming local body polls. There was no discussion on the assembly seats, as it was decided to take it up then," he said.
Reacting to the decision, Jose Mani said the decision to admit his party into the LDF was accepted with a lot of happiness and is seen by them as an acceptance of the politics of K.M. Mani.
With this new move, one of Kerala's longest standing political rivalries is coming to a close as the CPI-M, in the past three decades, has always been in the forefront of attacking K.M. Mani as a corrupt politician. This even led to acrimonious scenes in the assembly on March 13, 2015, when thethen CPI-M led opposition did their best to prevent Mani from presenting his budget.
The assembly suffered considerable damage and a court is now hearing the case and two state ministers have been asked to appear before it.
With this, the number of UDF legislators in the 140-member Kerala Assembly has gone down by two, as two KC-M legislators of Jose Mani's faction - Roshy Augustine and N.Jayaraj - will now be seated on the treasury benches.