CPM hints it's open to have Jose K Mani in LDF fold

CPM hints it's open to have Jose K Mani in LDF fold
CPM state secretary Kodyeri Balakrishnan, Jose K Mani

It looks like the CPM is not going to take a leisured 'wait and watch' approach to wooing Jose K Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (Mani) to its fold. The party has made it almost clear that Jose K Mani is welcome.

On June 29, the day the Jose K Mani faction was dumped by the UDF, the CPM leaders were bit guarded, though they appeared keen to include them.

"Political line changes when the political situation changes. Let them first make their line clear," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on June 29. He also hinted that Jose K Mani had the political integrity not to go with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

CPM state secretary Kodyeri Balakrishnan was even more circumspect. "It looks like the Jose K Mani faction has still left the door ajar for consultations with the UDF. They will have to first make their stand clear," Kodiyeri said.

On Thursday, a day after Mani emphatically ruled out talks with the UDF and stuck to his earlier position on Kottayam District president's post, the CPM state secretary was more forthcoming.

In an article published in the CPM mouthpiece Deshabhimani, Kodiyeri had encouraging words for the Jose K Mani faction. "Mani's Kerala Congress was one of the parties in the UDF with a huge mass base," he said. "The party's exit will hasten the destruction of the UDF," Kodiyeri added.

Hinting that he was expecting more parties in the UDF to join the LDF, Kodiyeri said Lokatantrik Janata Dal (LJD) that had broken ties with Janata Dal (S) and aligned with the UDF during the 2016 polls was now with the LDF. Kodiyeri also said that the changes in the political situation would work to the LDF's advantage.

LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan showed greater urgency. He said the LDF should discuss the Jose K Mani issue and take a joint decision. It was clear, the LDF convener wants the other partners to convince the CPI, which is dead against Jose K Mani's entry.

Anticipating Mani's plans, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had earlier hurled a stinker. He said the LDF was not a ventilator for desperate political parties.

It will take some convincing to bring the CPI around. Even earlier, when there were serious talks to lure K M Mani away from the UDF and upset the Oommen Chandy government, it was the CPI that had stood in the way.

However, Mani C Kappan who furiously opposed Jose K Mani's entry into the LDF seems to have softened. "If the LDF opens its doors,  Jose K Mani is welcome. I will abide by the LDF decision. Nonetheless, I will not let go of Pala," Kappan said on Thursday. Kappan had earlier met top CPM leaders to express his displeasure at Mani's entry.

It is said the CPM had shed its complacency after it was felt that the UDF leaders were softening the blow they had delivered on Mani. All top leaders, including Ramesh Chennithala, Oommen Chandy and PK Kunhalikutty, said Mani had not been booed out and that his faction could return if it changed its stand.

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