Congress’ move to hand over its vacant Rajya Sabha seat to Kerala Congress (Mani) has led to bitterness among its cadre in Kerala. In protest against the move, a group of people hoisted the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)’s flag atop the Congress flag at its Malappuram district office, reported Malayala Manorama.
This is also seen as a protest against the IUML since its senior leader and Malappuram Member of Parliament P K Kunhalikutty played a major role in the allocation of the seat to Kerala Congress (Mani). The IUML has asked Congress to give up the seat to bring Kerala Congress (Mani) back to the United Democratic Front (UDF).
Kerala Congress (Mani) had quit the UDF alliance in August 2016 after its chief K M Mani was forced to step down as Finance Minister from the Oommen Chandy Cabinet over allegations of corruption. Until then, the Mani group, which has six seats in the state assembly, had been part of the UDF for over 30 years.
The UDF move to placate Kerala Congress (Mani) can also be seen as a to counter the new narrative that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans in Kerala. The BJP has been eyeing the Kerala Congress (Mani) for a tie-up in 2019 national elections and win a couple of seats, particularly in the Kottayam area that is stronghold of the Mani group.
On the other hand, the Congress decision has resulted in its state secretary V Jayanth quitting the post and the Kozhikode Kerala Students Union, an arm of the Congress, resigning en-masse.
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