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Testing time for Mani in Kerala, party meet on July 8


Jose K. Mani _file


Thiruvananthapuram: The coming days for Jose K. Mani and his faction are crucial as it meets on Wednesday to take a call on the way forward. The CPM-led Left has made it clear that to be considered (an ally), he will have to make the first move.

He heads one faction of the Kerala Congress (M), founded by his late father K.M. Mani, after splitting with party veteran and senior legislator P.J. Joseph almost an year ago.

Mani and his faction was asked by the Congress-led UDF to quit the Kottayam district panchayat post in favour of the Joseph-headed faction. But he refused to do so and the UDF, early this week, decided not to invite him for meetings till he accepted the decision.

With the local body elections likely in October and the Assembly polls in May 2021, and the Pinarayi Vijayan government determined to rewrite the history by becoming the first incumbent government to return to office in the state, it has extended an olive branch to Mani to spell out his political stand.

The CPI-M leadership, comprising Vijayan and state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, has said in politics nothing can be ruled out. It's the circumstances that takes the upper hand when political decisions are taken.

On Saturday, Mani said there would be no more talks with the UDF. "We have made our position clear that we will make appropriate decisions at the appropriate time. Our party will be meeting on Wednesday," said Mani.

While the Mani faction has support of one Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha member and two legislators, Joseph is backed by three legislators. The lone Lok Sabha member Thomas Chazhikadan has said talks with the UDF need not be ruled out. It indicates there are two opinions in the Mani faction.

Joseph is confident that more and more people from the opposite camp will switch over to his faction.

Though the CPI, the second biggest LDF ally, is opposing Mani's entry, Vijayan is likely to bulldoze all such opposition. Given the scenario, the CPI may mellow down and give its nod -- as a test case -- to have electoral adjustment in Kottayam and Idukki districts, where Mani's party has a following.

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News Summary - Testing time for Mani in Kerala, party meet on July 8
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