Growth by mutation: That’s Kerala Congress for you!

Splits and mergers are a routine affair in this regional party’s 52-year old history
Growth by mutation: That’s Kerala Congress for you!
Growth by mutation: That’s Kerala Congress for you!

`Valarunthorum pilarum, Pilarumthorum valarum’ (The more it grows, the more it divides/ the more it divides, the more it grows) was a tagline spun by some smart alec to describe the Kerala Congress.

And the more-than-half-a-century of its political existence has only served to reinforce the regional party’s history of political mutation in Kerala.

The Christian community especially from the Kottayam and Idukki districts of Kerala forms the majority of the party’s voter-base in the state.

First formed in 1964 by KM George and headquartered in Kottayam, the first eight years of the Kerala Congress were spent in apparent bonhomie and political harmony.

1972 saw the first of its major splits which then went on to become its routine political tradition with almost all the letters of the English alphabet being used up for its various breakaway factions.

Here’s a quick look at all the major splits and mergers in the Kerala Congress (KC) till date:

1972 – E John Jacob and JA Chacko form another KC.

1976 - KM George and KM Mani split and form different factions.

1977 - R.Balakrishna Pillai splits to form KC (B).

1979 - KM Mani forms KC(M) with 14 MLAs and PJ Joseph forms KC(J) with 6 MLAs.

1982 - Mani group joins UDF; Balakrishna Pillai joins him.

1985 – KC(M) and KC(J) merge.

1987 - KC(M) and KC(J) split. TM Jacob joins Mani while Pillai joins Joseph.

1989 - PJ.Joseph joins LDF while Mani goes with UDF.

1993 - Pillai revives KC(B) to rejoin UDF.

1997 - TV Abraham splits from KC(J) and later merges with KC(M).

2003 - PC George splits from KC(J) and forms KC(Secular).

     -    PC Thomas splits away from Mani group and forms IFDP.

2005 - IFDP joins NDA .

2009 - PC George’s KC(Secular) merges with KC(M).

2010 - KC(M) and KC(J) merge, while PC Thomas continues with LDF.

2015 - PC George splits from KC(M).

2016 – Pillai’s KC(B) quits UDF and joins LDF.

Latest - KC(M) and KC(J) on the verge of another split.

That’s a whopping seventeen splits, mergers and swapping sides for a party which currently has 9 MLAs in the current Legislative Assembly and an MP each in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

KM Mani -who was till November the state finance minister- had to unwillingly resign from the Chandy cabinet over his alleged involvement in the bar bribery scam. He now faces an imminent revolt from the KC(J) faction for his reportedly autocratic manner of functioning and supposed disagreements over seat-sharing in the upcoming Assembly elections In April/May.

Though officially the party seeks to put up a united front in public at least, with reports of Mani's name being removed from the sign-board of the KC(M) office at Kanjirappally on Wednesday doing the rounds, it seems only a matter of time before the party indulges in yet another of its routine splits.

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