Thiruvananthapuram: Troubled times lie ahead for Kerala Congress (M) with the passing away of its chairman K.M. Mani. Kerala Janapaksham leader P.C. George has gone to the extent of saying that “it is the end of KC(M).”
The party was riven with factional rivalries ever since working chairman P.J. Joseph had demanded an additional Lok Sabha seat and the majority of Mani’s loyalists rallied behind Joseph. There was unrest when Mani decided to send his son, Jose K. Mani, then Lok Sabha MP from Kottayam, to the Rajya Sabha. Party leaders claimed that Mani wanted to outsmart Kottayam DCC leaders who would try to defeat Jose in the Lok Sabha elections. Joseph faction was hurt by Mani’s unilateral decisions. The UDF promised to address his grievances at the time of the Lok Sabha elections. But when the time came, the front rejected his claim for either Idukki or Chalakkudy leaving Joseph sulking.
Mani’s loyalists, former Rajya Sabha MP Joy Abraham, deputy chairman C. F. Thomas, general secretary Joseph M. Puthussery and a dozen other senior leaders are irked by Jose K. Mani’s moves forcing them to lean towards the Joseph faction. Only a handful of leaders like Thomas Chazhikadan and Roshy Augustine will stay put with Jose K. Mani.
“KC (M) had thrived under K. M. Mani, the doyen of Kerala’s politics. The void left by Mani Sir cannot be filled. Only time will prove what lies ahead of the party,” said a senior KC (M) leader.
There may be a tug of war between the family members of Mani and Joseph faction for the Pala Assembly seat where a by-election will be held. Joseph has said that there are scores of senior leaders who had toiled for the party and that Jose K. Mani and his loyalists should not walk away with plum posts. As and when Jose K. Mani tries to become the chairman of the party, the Joseph faction is expected to raise a revolt.
P.C. George told DC: “Just wait and see what will happen. The KC (M) before and after Mani will be quite different.”