A day after Kerala Congress (M) severed its long-standing ties with UDF, party supremo K M Mani on Monday said no mediation would help change its decision even as the Congress said talks for a patch up would be made only after discussions among partners.
"We have taken a decision not in the anticipation that it would lead to debate or discussion. We stand by our decision (to severe ties with the UDF)," 82-year old Mani told reporters in his assembly constituency Pala in Kottayam district.
He was responding to a question on the reported move by key UDF partner IUML to carry out a mediation effort.
"We welcome discussions. But on this issue, are mediation efforts just enough? ...We have already taken a decision," Mani, who has been sulking since being forced to quit as finance minister last year over the bar bribery scam, said.
He said KC(M) had nothing to fear as the party had proved its strength by fighting elections alone in the past.
Meanwhile, BJP started sending positive vibes to the KC(M), saying the saffron party has no "untouchability" towards the Mani-led party, which is wielding considerable clout among Syrian Catholic community in central Kerala.
Giving a jolt to the Congress, KC-M yesterday announced its decision to snap over three-decade old ties with UDF citing "humiliation" meted out by Congress.
The party, which was the third largest partner in the UDF after Congress and IUML, also decided to function as a separate bloc in the state assembly.
In Thiruvananthapuram, UDF Chairman Ramesh Chennithala said a decision to have further talks for a patch up with the KC(M) would be taken only after discussions among the front constituents.
"Congress and other front parties never did anything to force Mani to quit UDF. There were no issues that could not be resolved. Mani should have taken up his party's problems within the front," he told reporters.
However, he added: "I am of the view that KC-M should remain in the front."
Chennithala said KC-M had left the UDF without any valid reasons and it was quite unexpected from the part of a veteran politician such as Mani.
Congress had always tread the path of unity and tried for it by holding talks with Mani, he said.
Chennithala, who was the Home Minister when the bar scam came out, said he had never intervened in the functioning of Vigillance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.
He said there was no deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of Mani, who faced bribery charges in the bar scam.
It was the same UDF government that filed two Vigilance inquiry reports in the Special Court exonerating Mani in the case, he said.
"The present CPI-M-led LDF government has also not changed the reports so far," he said.
"UDF still believes that bar bribery case was the result of a conspiracy by then LDF Opposition and also firmly of the opinion that Mani was innocent in the case," he said.
Chennithala also said that the UDF would go ahead with its agitational programmes against the "anti-people" policies of the LDF government and "communal politics" of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
As part of the stir, UDF MLAs would stage a dharna in front of the state secretariat in Kottayam on August 10.
BJP state President Kummanam Rajasekharan, addressing a party programme in Kochi, said his party has "no untouchability" towards the KC(M) and pointed to BJP's "warm" relations with Kerala Congress faction headed by former union minister P C Thomas -- son of legendary leader P T Chacko.
Party senior leader and MLA O Rajagopal said BJP would discuss the stand taken by Mani.