Severing a three-and-a-half decade relationship with the UDF, K M Mani and his party Kerala Congress (M) walked out of the political front on Sunday. The party will take an independent stand and its six MLAs will sit as a separate block in the state Assembly.
Mani ruled out joining the LDF or the NDA. The party will extend issue-based support to the UPA at the Centre. However the relationship with the UDF will continue in the local self-government and cooperative bodies. The party will be reorganised from the grass roots. A state committee which will be held on August 14 in Kottayam will take decisions regarding the future programmes of the party. The camp centre in Charalkunnu which has witnessed several splits, ouster of leaders and violence in the Kerala Congress (M), witnessed one more historical incident in the party as well as in the history of Kerala politics on Sunday.
After taking the decision, Mr. Mani said the party would now focus on strengthening its cadres in the coming days, undertaking a membership drive and a campaign to build up the organisation. The State committee meeting of the party, scheduled for August 14, would finalise the plan of action. It would also come up with alternate plan to pep up the sagging fortunes of the farming community, Mr Mani added.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the two-day party conclave at Charalkunnu on Sunday, Mr Mani said, “We believe that moving independently would be more beneficial to the farming community.”
He said the party was moving out with a heavy heart since the KC(M) had played a key role in the growth of the UDF during the last three decades or more. “However, this is inevitable. We are moving out with sadness,” he said.
Mr. Mani, however, said the party would fulfil its commitments to coalition partners at the local body level as the party was not ready to breach such agreements. He alleged that the UDF as a coalition had been weakened on account of the actions from a section of its leaders who were functioning against the interests of the coalition and sense of justice. According to him, certain persons in the Congress leadership were treating his party as ‘enemy No. 1.’ “Special ‘battalions’ were sent to weaken the party candidates and even special funds were used for the purpose during the Assembly elections,” he alleged.
KC(M) leaders returning after the conclave were received by black flag waving Youth Congress workers. At least one person, driver of former MLA Joseph M. Puthussery, received injuries in the melee. The Youth Congress members announced a State-wide protest against KC(M) leaders.