Congress-Led UDF Suffers Jolt As Kerala’s KM Mani Quits

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Thiruvananthapuram: In a big jolt to the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala, a key partner – Kerala Congress (M) led by former finance minister KM Mani, severed its over three-decade old ties with the coalition, deciding to sit as a separate bloc in the state assembly.

A decision to this effect was taken at a crucial two-day conclave of the KC-M which concluded today at Charalkunnu in Pathanamthitta district.

Launching a tirade at the Congress, party supremo Mani said some leaders in the Congress had “consciously” made efforts to ‘weaken’ KC-M and especially its party leader who was “fiercely attacked and humiliated” by some in that party’s leadership.

“Hence, the party has decided to sever ties with UDF and sit as a separate block in the assembly and function as a responsible opposition,” the 82-year-old veteran said. “We are leaving the UDF….” he said.

In parliament, KC(M) will provide issue-based support to Congress-led UPA, he said. However, Mr Mani said in the local bodies, the tie-up with UDF would continue.

The UDF has “weakened” as political decency required in coalition politics has not been shown, Mani said. He hoped that the stand taken by KC(M) will help other coalition partners in UDF to introspect. “Faith and love among the front partners has eroded and we are considered as an enemy. A battalion, a particular recruitment, a particular study class, was held to defeat us,” he said, apparently pointing fingers at Opposition leader, Ramesh Chennithala, heading the ‘I’ faction in the Congress.

Asked to identify who he was referring to, Mani declined to give any names and said those in the Congress leadership would understand. “Bar bribery case is only one of the reasons behind the decisions to leave UDF. There are other reasons also,” he said. Asked about their future course of action, he said the party will neither go to LDF or BJP-NDA camp. “We will give all our attention to strengthening the party.”

Reacting to the development, Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy termed the development as “unfortunate” while Mr Chennithala, who was a target of KC-M, said Mr Mani has “cheated” the democratic people of the state.

PTI

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