The defection of the Jose. K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) to the LDF appeared to have caused a profound sense of betrayal in the Congress leadership here.
The development has arguably left the UDF a diminished coalition. However, it also seemed to have infused a sense of determination to fight back.
UDF convener M.M. Hassan fired the first salvo by demanding the resignation of MP from Kottayam, Thomas Chazhikadan, who won the seat on the coalition’s ticket. The UDF also wanted two MLAs aligned with Mr. Mani’s faction to quit their posts.
The UDF was not opposed to accommodating Mani. C. Kappan, MLA, of the National Congress Party (NCP) whose Pala seat was at stake given Mr. Mani’s “claim” over the constituency.
KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran said Mr. Mani had forsaken the legacy of KC(M) founder K. M. Mani by aligning with the LDF.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that Mr Mani had stabbed the UDF in the back. His misplaced machinations had cost the coalition the Pala seat in the elections that followed the death of K.M. Mani. He said Mr. Mani always had coveted membership in the LDF and worked for it secretly.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy termed Mr. Mani’s exit from the UDF as unfortunate. He said Mr. Mani appeared to have forgotten his father’s sufferings at the hand of the LDF.