LDF appears to be warming up to Jose faction

LDF appears to be warming up to Jose faction
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Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling CPI(M)-led LDF appears to be warming up to the Kerala Congress(M)-Jose K Mani faction, which is at loggerheads with the opposition UDF, over a rift regarding the Kottayam district panchayat president post.

Describing the KC-M as a party with "wide follower base" and hitting out at the UDF, the CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, in an article published in party mouthpiece "Deshabhimani", said the Congress-led front had failed to resolve the rift between the two factions of the Kerala Congress (M)-led by P J Joseph and Jose K Mani.

The front, which was in "shambles", had failed to keep its allies together and this will lead to its "political disintegration."

Without the KC-M, the UDF will further weaken, he claimed.

In a U-turn, the Opposition UDF on Wednesday said the KC(M) faction led by Jose K Mani had not been ousted, but only been asked to keep away from the front meetings.

The volte-face had come two days after UDF convener Benny Behanan announced that the front had decided to oust the Jose faction following its refusal to honour the agreement with regard to power-sharing of a Panchayat President post in Kottayam.

A long time UDF ally, the KC(M) has a wide follower base and the present feud between the party's two factions will affect the UDF,theCPI(M) leader said in the article.

"The UDF has failed to keep its allies together and this will result in the disintegration of the Front.

KC(M) is a party in the UDF with a wide follower base.

The LoktantrikJanata Dal (LJD), which was with the UDF in the last assembly election, is now with the LDF. In view of these political changes, the UDF is now trying to forge an alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami and SDPI," Balakrishnan said.

Asked about the Left Democratic Front (LDF) stand on the issue, its convener A Vijayaraghavan told reporters "We cannot tell anything in advance on whether the Josefaction will be part of the LDF...first, Jose K Mani needs to explain his stand.

The faction has not made it clear whether they are inclined to move towards any other Front.The entry of a political party to the Front will be decided only after proper discussions within the Front," Vijayaraghavan said.

As per the UDF pact, the Jose faction was allowed to hold the post of panchayat president for eight months and the faction led by party working chairman, P J Joseph for the remaining six months.

However, after their term, the Jose faction refused to resign, prompting the UDF to take action.

P J Joseph claimed Jose's faction was eyeing the LDF.

Reacting to the left leaders response, Jose, a Rajya Sabha MP, said he was happy, but added no decision has been taken.

"We have not held discussions with any of the Fronts.

We will take a decision at the appropriate time.

I am happy that the Left has recognised us as a party with a wide follower base.But the issues within UDF are nothing new.Even if we are ousted from UDF, we are part of the UPA at national level.

Ousting the party of K M Mani (Jose's late father) over a small issue with regard to a panchayat president post was not right," Jose said at Kottayam today.

On whether Jose faction will be allowed an entry into the LDF, Kanam Rajendran, Secretary of CPI, the second largest constituent in the left front, said the issue has not been discussed.

"We have not taken a decision on the matter.No discussions have been held so far in the LDF.We will make our stand clear at the LDF meeting.

LDF will not stand to gain with the coming of the faction into the left front," he said.

With the Local body elections due by this year end and the crucial assembly polls next year, the Jose faction, which claims to have a sizable following in the central Kerala Christian belt, is keeping its cards close to its chest.