However, the leader did not say anything about returning to the fold of the UDF.

Chengannur bye-election Kerala political veteran KM Mani throws weight behind UDF
news Politics Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 14:53

Kerala Congress (M) supremo KM Mani declared on Tuesday that he would support the United Democratic Front in the Chengannur bye-polls, set to be held on May 28.

In a press conference, Mani said, “Only a grand alliance of regional parties can resist the communalism, which is growing in our country. This has been proved in the Karnataka election.”

The decision to back the UDF was taken in a sub-committee meeting of the KC(M).

“The Centre and the state government have not taken any measures to help the farmers; instead, they ignore the farmers’ distress. The price of the farm products are down. The state isn’t helping farmers make a living. It’s against this backdrop that we are extending support to the UDF,” Mani said.

His colleague and another senior leader of the party PJ Joseph was also present at the press meet. While this is the first-ever announcement from the political veteran on the bye-election, he didn’t say anything about returning to the fold of the UDF.

Ever since he parted ways with the Congress-led UDF, now in the Opposition in the state, in 2016, Mani has not been part of any coalition. Instead, KC(M) has been keeping a distance from both the Left Democratic Front and the UDF.

 The BJP had in March this year openly sought the support of Mani in the bye-election. BJP leaders even called on Mani at his residence in Pala, the stronghold of the KC(M). The BJP’s mouthpiece, Janmabhoomi, had, in a centrespread, described Mani as the gem of Pala.

The CPI(M), on the other hand, has said that it would be happy to receive the support of anyone, barring the RSS. CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had also hinted at Mani extending his support to the party. The fact that in May 2017, the CPI(M) backed the KC(M) in the Kottayam district panchayat president elections had added fuel to the fire.

The Congress had, at that time, accused Mani of “political cheating of the extreme kind”.

Read:As KM Mani-CPI(M) alliance wins Kottayam Panchayat polls, Congress alleges cheating

But CPI(M)'s ally, the CPI, has voiced its opposition to the soft stand taken by the party towards Mani.

CPI(M) veteran VS Achuthandan on Sunday, during an election campaign in Chengannur, said that the LDF would win even without the support of Mani.

The bye-election is necessitated by the death of CPI(M) legislator KK Ramachandran Nair.

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.