Given that Mani's party has a support base of around 5,000 voters, his support to one of the three fronts in Kerala is crucial. 

Chengannur bye-election Decision on partys support in a weeks time says KM Mani
news Bye-Election Saturday, May 12, 2018 - 07:59

Ahead of the May 28 Chengannur Assembly bye-election, Kerala Congress (Mani) chief KM Mani on Friday said a decision on his party's support to one of the three fronts in Kerala will be taken within a week.

Given that Mani's party has a support base of around 5,000 voters, his support is crucial. 

Last year, Mani's party severed ties with the Congress-led United Democratic Front after close to four decades. His party's six legislators sit as a separate block in the Assembly.

Apart from the UDF, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Democratic Front have met Mani to seek his party's support.

The only exception being the Communist Party of India, whose state secretary Kanam Rajendran, has made it very clear that Mani's vote was not needed, nor was the Left looking for a new ally.

"A final decision will come in a week's time," Mani told reporters.

On April 27, KM Mani had said that the CPI wants the CPI(M) candidate to lose in the May 28 polls.

Asked about how his party members would vote in the May 28 polls, Mani earlier said: "He (Rajendran) is trying to kill two birds with one stone. 

"As he has nothing to lose in the Chengannur bye-poll, and it is the CPI(M) candidate trying to retain the seat, Rajendran wants the CPI(M) candidate to lose." 

"Very soon our party will meet and decide on what needs to be done in Chengannur," he added.

CPI(M) legislator KK Ramachandran Nair's death in January 2016 necessitated the bye-election to the seat. Counting of votes will take place on May 31.

Chengannur was a Congress citadel for close to three decades until Nair broke through in 2016.

In 2016, Nair secured 52,880 votes while two-time Congress legislator PC Vishnunath got 44,987; BJP's P. Sreedharan Pillai came a close third with 42,682 votes.

Pillai is again in the fray whereas the CPI(M) has fielded Alappuzha District Secretary Saji Cherian. The Congress has fielded D. Vijayakumar.

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