Thiruvananthapuram : The coming weeks are going to be crucial for late K.M. Mani's son Jose K.Mani, as the faction of the Kerala Congress (Mani) that he leads, is awaiting its entry into the ruling CPI-M led Left Democratic Front (LDF).
While the nod has come from the CPI-M, the ball is now in the court of Jose, whose crucial steering committee meeting of the party is meeting on Friday.
The Jose faction suffered a rude jolt, last month after one of its strong leaders, a former legislator Joseph M.Puthusserry decided to join the opposite faction led by veteran legislator P.J. Joseph. Jose is worried at more people leaving his flock as that could affect his 'bargaining power' with the LDF.
The CPI-M has asked Jose to make the first move to express his interest in joining the LDF. A similar situation had emerged when late K.M. Mani had decided to sit as an independent bloc in 2016 after breaking away from the Congress-led UDF. At that time, stiff opposition surfaced after the second biggest ally in the Left -- the CPI -- strongly opposed it. In 2018, K.M. Mani returned to the UDF after a Rajya Sabha seat was given to him. Quick to take up the offer, he asked Jose to resign from the Lok Sabha, a year before the term was to end, and contest the Rajya Sabha seat which he won.
After the death of K.M. Mani last year, the two factions emerged within the party -- one led by party veteran legislator P.J. Joseph and the other by Jose K. Mani. In the Joseph's faction, which had three legislators, the number came down to two after the death of veteran legislator C.F. Thomas last month, while his rival faction has also two.
Speaking to IANS, sitting legislator Roshy Augustine, who has been strongly rooted with Jose, denied all rumours that has started going around that he is not keen to join the LDF.
"All along I have been with our party chairman (Jose) and there is no basis in the present speculation that I will leave Jose. We have our party steering committee meeting on Friday," said Augustine.
Meanwhile, the LDF has come to a broad consensus on the seats that should be given to Jose, which is essentially a pre-condition to his entry into the LDF.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, the erstwhile Kerala Congress (Mani) -- the undivided party -- had contested 15 seats and they have now been offered 13 seats.
With CPI-M taking the lead to bring in Jose, even though the CPI and NCP had expressed their displeasure after a few of their seats, which they contested, might be given to Jose, the CPI-M is hopeful that all such issues will be amicably settled.
However, if it happens, the CPI-M will have some explaining to do, more than Jose.
When K.M. Mani presented his 13th state budget in 2015, the Kerala Assembly witnessed the worst ever scenes when the now present Left which was in the opposition, went on a rampage and threw away the Speaker's chair and damaged his computer.
The then Left opposition, in which Balakrishnan was the deputy leader of the opposition, had for months been demanding the resignation of K.M. Mani in the bar scam and had termed him as the most corrupt politician. The Left had vowed that they will not allow Mani to present the state Budget.
If Jose finally joins the LDF, it will prove again that in politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies.