Arm twisting tactics of Kerala Cong (M) won’t work with Left


Gone are the days when Kerala Congress (M) as the third biggest ally in the Congress-led UDF, could be a bother with their arm twisting tactics for in the present ruling CPI-M led Left such designs will not work.

For a long time, K.M. Mani used to take things up with the UDF — the way he wished, on account of his stature and for being one of the founders of the UDF in the eighties.

Following his death in 2019 and the party splitting with the faction led by his son Jose K.Mani last year crossing over to the ruling LDF, many thought, when they were given 13 seats to contest the April 6 assembly polls, they will get key position as well.

However, with the shock defeat of Jose K. Mani from Pala in Kottayam, his father’s citadel from 1967 till he died, despite five of KC (M) winning the elections, their first demand of two cabinet minister’s was shot down by the all prevailing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

At the end of talks with them, Vijayan has more or less agreed to give them the Chief Whip post, which comes with cabinet status.

Jose though is now trying to bargain for a prime portfolio and wished to get the ‘revenue’ portfolio which was held by his father. This appears unlikely as with the Left in power, it’s normally handled by the CPI — the second biggest ally of the Left.

The CPI is already upset with the arrival of Jose into the Left fold, as they had to forego two seats in Kottayam district.

When Jose’s demand surfaced, Kanam Rajendran, the secretary of the CPI has said under no circumstances will they let go of ‘revenue’ portfolio.

The CPI-M is now planning to give the Power portfolio and along with it there are talks of giving the Public Works Department too. Incidentally both these portfolios were handled by two different CPI-M ministers in the outgoing Vijayan cabinet.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said by now Jose would have realised that the Left is not like the UDF, especially with Vijayan at the helm of affairs.

“Looking back, Mani was a master of taking away more than what he actually deserved. Whenever he was able to flex his muscles, he did it and he got Rajya Sabha seats, when his party actually never deserved it.

“In 2001 when the UDF won with 99 seats, the Congress did not give the finance portfolio, but in 2011, the UDF had a margin of just two seats in the 140 assembly and then he extracted his pound of flesh and got the finance portfolio. So it would be really doubtful, if Jose will get all what he desires,” said the critic.

Jose won the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Kottayam and in 2018 he quit the Lok Sabha after his party was offered a Rajya Sabha seat as part of a patch up with K.M.Mani to return to the Congress-led UDF in 2018.

Now all eyes are on Jose if he would settle for one minister, but would try to get back the Rajya Sabha seat, he quit after leaving the Congress-led UDF, as after 2009, this is the first time that he has no post.