Kerala Congress-Mani may sit separately from UDF in assembly

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 5 (IANS) Fissures between the Congress and major United Democratic Front partner Kerala Congress-Mani appear to have reached a flash point with the latter planning to sit as a separate bloc in the Kerala legislative assembly.

“We are having a two-day camp of our party. We will announce the decision on Sunday,” a senior KC-Mani leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Mani, the supreme leader of the party — the third biggest constituent of the United Democratic Front — is “hurt” with the attitude of the Congress party.

“We have been an integral part of the UDF since 1982. Our party was an ally of the UPA governments, and while even the Indian Union Muslim League was given a ministerial berth, we did not get one,” said the leader.

Another grouse of Mani is that when the seats were distributed for the 2016 assembly polls, the UDF got nine additional seats, but not one was given to the Kerala Congress-Mani and it had to settle with the 15 seats that it had in 2011.

The Kerala Congress-Mani has also been miffed with Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P.J. Kurien over the allotment of the Thiruvalla assembly seat to KC-Mani leader Joseph M. Puthusherry.

“For 16 days, he took a defiant stand against Puthusherry and not one Congress leader took a position against Kurien. During the bar scam, the Congress leadership insulted Mani by registering a quick verification against him. But they did nothing against State Ministers Ramesh Chennithala and V.S. Sivakumar, whose names also figured in alleged bribe-taking from bar owners,” added the disgruntled party leader.

In the past 10 days, top UDF leaders have tried to pacify Mani, but he appears adamant that the party will now sit as a separate bloc.

Mani’s party has six legislators. The UDF has 47 seats in the 140-member Kerala assembly.



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