KC(M)’s Zacharias Kuthiraveli was elected President of the 22-member District Panchayat with 12 votes.

As KM Mani-CPI M alliance wins Kottayam Panchayat polls Congress alleges cheating
news Politics Wednesday, May 03, 2017 - 14:47

The Kerala Congress (M) (KM Mani faction) has emerged victorious in the Kottayam district Panchayat elections held on Wednesday, with the backing of the CPI (M).

KC(M)’s Zacharias Kuthiraveli was elected President of the 22-member District Panchayat with 12 votes, including six votes from the members of KC (M) and another six from CPI (M) members.

In the newly constituted Panchayat consisting of 22 members, Congress has eight members, LDF has seven and Kerala Congress (M) has six members.

The Kottayam alliance was decided in CPI(M) state party meeting on Monday. Even though the coalition won unexpectedly, Congress has alleged that KC(M) resorted to cheating. 

The election was conducted after the resignation of former president Joshy. Congress claims Joshy resigned after an agreement with KC(M) that it would back Congress and will contest as a single group. However, KC(M) broke the agreement at the last moment and joined hands with CPI (M), the Congress has alleged.

As per reports, PJ Joseph faction of Kerala Congress has expressed its strong opposition to KC(M)’s decision.

KC(M), which sits as an independent block in the Kerala Assembly after it quit the Congress-led UDF last year, was being actively wooed by all three political fronts in the state. With this local coalition, reports say there are chances of a possible alliance between KC(M) and CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala.

Reports suggest that CPI (M) had tried to woo KC(M) by entrusting the job to its ally and chairman of the Kerala Congress, led by Skariah Thomas.

A close aide of Thomas told IANS that the first meeting for testing the waters was held at Kottayam.

"What took place at Kottayam was a calculated move, which has the blessings of a powerful Catholic bishop. Those who got together included a famers movement, leaders including Mani, Johnny Nelloore who represents Kerala Congress (Jacob), an ally of the UDF and others. What has been propagated was it was a meeting by leaders who got together to discuss the plight of the farmers," said the close aide who did not wish to be identified.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President MM Hassan meanwhile said, "This is political cheating. They have broken the agreement with us. Jose K Mani is behind this." 

Addressing a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram, former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy came down heavily on KM Mani and even accused him of "political cheating of the extreme kind." 

"Does KM Mani have enough reasons to back his decision to severe his 42-year-old ties with the UDF? Does he have enough reasons to explain why he switched over to the other side?" Oommen Chandy asked. 

The senior Congress leader added that a democratic Kerala would never accept KM Mani's decision. 

While criticising KM Mani, who also served as the Finance Minister in his cabinet, Oommen Chandy also took a dig at the ruling LDF for its flimsy political stands.

"In all this, it is interesting to see the Marxist party's stand. They protested against KM Mani and demanded his resignation, now they didn't even need hours to go back on their stand," Oommen Chandy said.

He added: "There is not an ounce of sincerity in the Marxist party's stand and no consistency between their words and actions." 

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