CPM, CPI central leaderships may intervene to end discord over Kerala Congress

CPM, CPI central leaderships may enter the fray to end disagreement over Kerala Congress
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Kanam Rajendran

Thiruvananthapuram: The central leaderships of the CPM and CPI will intervene if the disagreement between the Kerala units of the two parties over the induction of the Jose faction of the Kerala Congress (M) into the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is not resolved.

The CPM in Kerala has informed its central leadership about the state party secretariat’s decision to go ahead with political strategies to deepen the crisis in the United Democratic Front (UDF).

At the same time, the CPI’s central leadership is also keeping itself abreast of the changing political equations in Kerala by seeking regular updates from its state unit.

While the Kerala CPM is keen on making the Jose faction an ally, the CPI is against it.

CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, in an article in party mouthpiece Deshabhimani said the Kerala Congress is one of those constituents of UDF that enjoy mass popularity. "The party's exit will hasten the downfall of the UDF," he had written.

The CPI, however, has warned that inducting the Jose faction could seriously dent the chances of the Left front to return to power after next year’s Assembly elections.

CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said there was no progress in the talks held between the two parties on Friday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will meet with him to hold further talks and the state unit will seek the guidance of the central leadership, he said.

CPM, CPI central leaderships may enter the fray to end disagreement over Kerala Congress
Jose K Mani (Centre) flanked by his supporters during a press meet.

The CPI’s stance

According to the CPI, the LDF is seen as an alliance that gives importance to political ideologies and stance. If it becomes an alliance that is waiting to give asylum to a constituent of the UDF, then it will be no different than the opposition front.

The Kerala Congress is basically a UDF party. Its vote bank will not shift to the LDF just because its leaders change alliances.

A Kerala Congress candidate may get the LDF vote, but a Left candidate will not get that party’s votes, feels the CPI.

The CPM had held the notion that it would lose the Chengannur Assembly by-election in 2018 without Mani’s support, but after winning the seat, it had called his faction a party without popular support.

CPM, CPI central leaderships may enter the fray to end disagreement over Kerala Congress

CPM’s counter

The CPM feels that the LDF should welcome more sections of people and political parties to achieve its aim of continuing in power after the Assembly elections scheduled for next year.

It should make use of opportunities to strengthen the LDF and weaken the UDF. The LDF’s approach should be to adjust to changing political landscape.

The CPM believes there is no need to shy away from joining hands with a group that enjoys substantial support of influential sections of the Christian community in central Kerala.

The induction of a party in which both Jose K Mani and Joseph are together could have affected the status of the CPI as the second-largest constituent in the LDF. However, the induction of just the Jose faction will not change that equation, it said.

CPM-CPI unity will not be affected’

Minister for law and parliamentary affairs A K Balan said that the Kerala Congress matter will be handled in a manner that will broaden the Left alliance’s popular base without affecting the unity of the CPM and CPI.

“The problem facing the Kerala Congress today can arise in the Muslim League tomorrow,” he said.

CPI secretary Kanam Rajendran also indicated that the two Left parties will stick together.

CPM, CPI central leaderships may enter the fray to end disagreement over Kerala Congress
A K Balan

“Everyone remembers that. Kodiyeri did not say that I was wrong. What I said was that no one can win if we fight alone,” he said when asked about Kodiyeri Balakrishnan pointing out that the CPI's performance had been poor in 1965 when it had contested the Assembly elections on its own, winning just three seats.

No discussion with anyone: Jose

Meanwhile, Jose K Mani has said that his faction has not held discussions with anyone. “Many have contacted us. We have not held discussions with anyone. The Kerala Congress is a party with a strong political base,” he said. “We will take a decision at an appropriate time.”

He accused P J Joseph of indulging in false propaganda daily.

“Every political party will have its own opinion and agenda. There is nothing wrong in what Kanam Rajendran said,” Jose, a Rajya Sabha MP, said when asked about the CPI’s opposition to the entry of his group into the LDF.

P J Joseph, for his part, said that many from the Jose faction will come to his side soon.

“Most members of the Pala municipality are with us. Many will come to our side soon. Jose K Mani's claim that he has a majority in the Thiruvalla municipality is wrong. He is a person who always lies,” said Joseph, an MLA.

CPM-Congress secret deal: BJP

The BJP has accused the CPM and the Congress of working towards a secret deal to defeat the BJP in the next elections.

“This is evident from the statement of (CPM state secretary) Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that the party will form an alliance with anyone who can help defeat the BJP,” the party's state president K Surendran said.

“The CPM is already busy with activities to harm the fortunes of the BJP and the NDA in places where it stands a chance to win,” he said.

Surendran said Jose K Mani should think twice about joining the LDF, which already has two major parties in CPI and Janata Dal. “Going back to the UDF will be suicidal,” he said.

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