A day after CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran flayed the Kerala Congress (Mani), veteran legislator KM Mani on Saturday hit back at the Left party dubbing it as "lying in the graveyard".
"The Communist Party of India (CPI) has always been known for its stalwarts, but at present leaders like Rajendran have brought a bad name to it. The CPI is scared of losing its present status and hence attacking us. We have not applied for entry to any political front in Kerala," Mani told media persons in Kottayam.
In August 2016, Mani's KC(M) left the United Democratic Front, of which the party was a constituent for close to over three decades, as he held a section of the Congress responsible for the UDF rout in the May 2016 assembly polls.
The Kerala Congress (Mani) has six legislators in the present assembly and acts as an independent bloc in the house. Mani's son Jose K. Mani is the Lok Sabha member from Kottayam.
On Friday, CPI leader Rajendran said that the Left Democratic Front is not a ventilator for parties on the death bed.
"It's strange that a party like the CPI, which is lying in the graveyard, is saying that other political parties are on ventilator. The CPI, if acting alone, will not win even a single seat in Kerala. At the moment, we are not looking for entry into any front in the state. Let me make it clear that I am not going to join any front, but will cooperate with those who share our ideology," said Mani, who set a record last year by completing 50 years as legislator from Pala constituency.
Mani came under a cloud over the infamous bar scam case, wherein a bar owner alleged that he paid Mani Rs 1 crore to reopen closed bars in 2014. Following the then Left opposition's demand, and after adverse remarks from the Kerala High Court, Mani stepped down in November 2015.
Ever since Mani left the UDF, the CPI-Marxist has been eyeing his party.
The Vigilance, which probed the bar scam case, on Wednesday submitted a preliminary report to say there was no evidence to implicate Mani.
For the past two days, the CPI-M leadership has been giving clear signals in favour of Mani.
The CPI-M and the CPI, of late, do not enjoy the best of relations. A by-election has been necessitated for Chengannur seat after the death of CPI-M legislator KK Ramachandran on Sunday. The CPI-M knows Mani's party has a good hold in the assembly constituency and could be of use.