The ruling CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala on Thursday formally inducted the Jose K Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M), which had recently severed its over three-decade-long ties with the UDF spearheaded by the Congress and joined hands with the left parties.
Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener A Vijayaraghavan announced the decision after a meeting of the Front leaders and said the Jose K Mani faction has become part of the LDF.
"This will further weaken the UDF which has been reduced to a coalition of two or three parties," he told reporters via video conference.
The Jose K Mani faction has become the 11th coalition party of the left front.
With the local body polls expected to be held in December and the Assembly polls due next year, the LDF decided to roll out the red carpet for the Jose faction, eyeing the Christian votes in the central Kerala belt.
"The induction of the faction will boost the front's chances in the local body election and ensure the continuation of the government after the upcoming assembly polls," Vijayaraghavan said.
Vijayaraghavan said the Jose faction has not set any pre-conditions and they made it clear earlier itself.
He said matters relating to seat sharing in the assembly polls were not taken up for discussions today and will be discussed later.
Jose K Mani had announced his faction's decision to part ways with the UDF and join hands with the left front on October 14. He had also said he would quit his Rajya Sabha membership, won with the support of the UDF.
Jose, son of veteran Kerala Congress (M) leader late K M Mani, had highlighted the ruling front's commitment to defending secularism and its principled position against communalism as one of the reasons for his faction's decision to join the LDF.
The LDF had staged massive agitations against former finance minister K M Mani, levelling serious charges of corruption in the bar bribery case and had even tried to physically prevent him from presenting the state budget in the assembly in March 2015.
The Jose faction's issues with the UDF leadership aggravated in June this year after it was "ousted" from the Congress-led Front in connection with the tussle over the Kottayam district panchayat chief post.