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Speculation mounts about KC(M) joining LDF in Kerala

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-05-2017 Nidheesh M.K.

Bengaluru: Speculation grew around the future political course of the Kerala Congress (Mani) or KC(M) on Wednesday after it ditched its ally, the Congress party, for the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in a Kottayam district panchayat election.

The candidate for Congress, which was ruling the panchayat, was supposed to easily win an intermediate election for the post of panchayat president with the support of KC(M). But in a dramatic move, KC(M) put up a candidate on its own at the last minute and, joining hands with the CPM, snatched the post from Congress by 12 to 8 votes.

A furious Congress accused the KC(M) drifting close to the CPM-led ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).

The KC(M) was the third largest ally of Congress in Kerala before it left the alliance in a huff last August. Ever since then the Congress-led opposition alliance, United Democratic Front has been trying to woo it back.

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On Wednesday, the troika of Congress leadership in Kerala—leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and working president M.M. Hassan—strongly condemned the KC(M).

“There cannot be an alliance with Mani anymore. It’s a major breach of trust, they had given us in writing their support to our candidate,” said another Congress leader, K.C. Joseph.

The move strengthened speculation about KC(M) drifting close to LDF.

However, within the LDF, the Communist Party of India or CPI, is opposed to joining hands with Mani since they think he is still tainted by a bribery scandal that rocked the previous UDF government’s term, said a CPM leader requesting anonymity.

Pannyan Raveendran, CPI leader, told reporters on Wednesday that the Kottayam episode could be only seen as a tactical move and that there are no plans for LDF expansion.

In a statement to the press, K.M. Mani justified his party’s decision in Kottayam, saying local Congress leaders who have been hurting his party.

Mani denied having any immediate plans to join the LDF.

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