KC-M nominee wins in dist panchayat polls with CPI-M supporttext_fields
Kottayam: Kerala Congress (M), a former partner of Congress-led UDF, Wednesday appeared to move closer to the CPI(M) with a candidate from the party headed by K M Mani receiving the state’s ruling party’s support to emerge victorious in the Kottayam district panchayat polls.
CPI(M) supported the Kerala Congress (M) nominee Zakharias Kuthiravelil to help it wrest the Kottayam District Panchayat president post from the Congress.
The political developments in Kottayam, considered to be a bastion of UDF politics, have created ripples in both the Congress-led alliance and the CPI(M)-led LDF.
The Congress-leadership headed by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala termed as “betrayal” Mani’s decision “to go with CPI(M).”
The district leadership of CPI, a key LDF partner, slammed the CPI(M) for supporting Mani by not fielding a candidate for the post of district panchayat chief.
Kuthiravelil secured 12 votes while Congress nominee Sunny Pambady could secure only eight votes in the 22-member district panchayat.
CPI(M) with six elected members supported the KC(M) nominee while a lone representative of CPI in the council abstained from voting.
KC(M), which fought the panchayat elections held two years ago as an UDF ally and later severed ties with the Congress-led alliance after assembly polls last year, has six elected representatives.
Another member belonging to a group led by Poonjar MLA P C George made her vote invalid.
Election to the post was necessitated following Congress nominee Joshi Philip quitting the post after he was made the Congress Kottayam district president.
Philip was elected president of the district panchayat with the support of the Kerala Congress (M) in November 2015.
Addressing a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram, both Chandy and Chennithala hit out at Mani, saying what the Kerala Congress-M supremo had done in Kottayam today was a “big political betrayal.”
Chandy, who enjoys a good rapport with Mani, said the KC(M) chief had assured his party’s support to the Congress nominee in the election but he “unfortunately ditched” the party at the last moment, “violating” all poltical ethics and morality.
The former Chief Minister said an agreement was reached between the Congress and KC(M) to share the five-year term equally and swap the position two and a half years into the term. “But Mani violated the agreement,” he said.
Mani, however, said neither he nor his son Jose K Mani had taken any decision to field a candidate in the polls.
“The decision was taken by local leadership of the party, who were hurt by the attack mounted by district congress leadership (against KC-M). I have no role in it, my party MP Jose K Mani or party MLAs have no role in the decision taken by the local leadership of the party,” Mani said. Kottayam DCC said Congress, which expected support of the Kerala Congress (M) in the election, felt “cheated” and slammed KC (M) for hobnobbing with the CPI(M). The DCC also said Kerala Congress (M) nominees who won elections held to various bodies, including assembly and Parliament, with the support of the Congress and other UDF allies have no right to continue in the respective posts.
The move by a section of KC(M) leaders has reportedly created unease within the party.
A prominent faction headed by P J Joseph felt that there was nothing wrong in Congress’ accusations of “political betrayal” in Kottayam.
The KC(M) after quitting UDF in August last year has been maitaining equidistance from both the major fronts in the state politics including UDF, LDF and the BJP-led NDA.