Thiruvananthapuram: Two days after the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) ousted Kerala Congress (Mani) for defying its directive to vacate the president's post of the Kottayam district panchayat, the UDF on Wednesday said it never ousted the ally but only asked it not to take part in UDF meetings.
UDF chairman and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, after the meeting said that it was the media which misread and misreported the statement.
"The UDF convener Benny Behanan never ever said that Kerala Congress (Mani) faction led by Jose K. Mani has been expelled, instead he had said that they will not be allowed to take part in future UDF meetings," said Chennithala.
"Things are very clear, we have been speaking to the two factions for the past four months and the Jose K. Mani faction was asked to vacate the post which they did not. Since they did not listen to the UDF directive, we said that they will not be allowed to take part in future UDF meetings and we never ousted them from the UDF," added Chennithala.
Kerala Congress (Mani) was founded by UDF veteran late K.M. Mani and is now led by his son and Rajya Sabha member Jose K. Mani.
The Kerala Congress (Mani) now comprises of two factions -- one led by Jose Mani and the other led by veteran legislator P.J. Joseph. For all practical purposes for the past one year they have been functioning as two different entities.
Two time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had on Tuesday said that there has to be discipline in a political front and the doors of the UDF are not closed at all.
On Monday and Tuesday, Jose K. Mani had expressed sadness at the way his party members were treated. After their meetings they decided to wait and watch.
Wednesday's developments can be seen as the UDF trying to extend an olive branch to Jose K. Mani, given the fact that his father K.M. Mani was one of the founders of the UDF 38 years ago.