Bypoll to Rajya Sabha seat gets underway in Kerala

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Voting to elect a Rajya Sabha member began in the Kerala Assembly on Monday morning with the 140 legislators beginning to queue up to cast their votes .

Jose K. Mani, who is likely to win, heads the third biggest ally- Kerala Congress (Mani) in the CPI-M led coalition government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan. Opposing him is Congress leader Sooranad Rajasekharan.

In the 140 member Assembly, the Left has 99 members, while the Congress-led UDF has 41.

Vijayan cast his vote in the morning and so has Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan.

Jose, who is the son of late K.M. Mani — the founder of Kerala Congress (M), had quit his Rajya Sabha seat which he had won when K.M. Mani was with the Congress-led UDF in 2018.

The reason for his quitting the seat then was the breaking of party soon after the demise of K.M. Mani. While the faction led by P.J. Joseph chose to remain with the Congress-led UDF, Jose Mani decided to leave the UDF and joined the Left last year.

The political stock of Jose suffered a major reversal when he was defeated by sitting legislator Mani C. Kappen from the Pala Assembly seat in Kottayam district which for 52 years was represented by the father of Jose — K.M. Mani.

Kappen had won the seat when he was with the NCP, an ally of the Left, in a by-election in 2019 and after the Left decided to field Jose in the April 6 Assembly polls, Kappen quit the NCP. He formed his own party and joined the Congress-led UDF and contested the seat and beat Jose.

Kappen who is down with Covid, however, will cast his vote at 4.30 p.m. wearing a PPE kit.

Jose’s political fortunes nose-dived with his failure to win his seat, but three others from his party became legislators, and one Roshy Augustine became the State Water Resources Minister.

Votes will be counted after Kappen caste his vote.

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