By P. Sreekumaran
A tie-up with the Kerala Congress(Mani) has once again become a bone of contention between the CPI(M) and the CPI.
The ongoing CPI(M) district conferences saw renewed expression of the need for a tie-up with the KC(M), at present ploughing a lonely furrow in Kerala politics. The feeling of enthusiasm towards KC(M) was most pronounced in Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki districts, where the party is still a force to reckon with.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan himself set the tone for a relationship between the CPI(M) and the KC(M). Kodiyeri stressed the need for expanding the Left Democratic Front (LDF) with the inclusion of more parties. He extended a clear welcome for the KC(M). If the latter is ready to join the LDF, the CPI(M) would welcome it, Kodiyeri gushed.
Other district conferences have also taken a cue from the warmth for the KC(M) eloquently expressed at the Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki party conferences.
The CPI(M) is of the firm view that a tie-up with the KC(M) is necessary for better performance in the central Kerala districts like Kottayam, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki.
But it won’t be easy for the CPI(M) to take a unilateral decision in the sensitive matter. The CPI, the second most important constituent of the LDF, is fiercely opposed to any tie-up with the KC(M). The CP:I contends, rightly so, that any alliance with the ‘corrupt’ KC(M) chief KM Mani will tarnish the image of the LDF, which has made a firm commitment to eradicate corruption in its election manifesto.
There has been no change in the political situation, argues the CPI, warranting an alliance with the KC(M). CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran, a vociferous critic of ties with the KC(M), has once again made no bones about his displeasure over the talk of inducting the KC(M) into the LDF. The KC(M) chief is still under a cloud over the infamous bar bribery scam, which resulted in KC(M)’s exit from the UDF.
The CPI smells a rat in the CPIK(M)’s enthusiastic wooing of the KC(M). The party feels, again rightly so, it is a strategy to weaken the CPI. Kanam has voiced his strong opposition to any move that aims at undermining the CPI’s position in the LDF.
This being the ground reality, the plans for a CPI(M)-KC(M) alliance is unlikely to fructify in the immediate future. The CPI(M) will have to factor in the strong reservations of the CPI on the politically sensitive subject before taking a final decision. Any move to reject the CPI’s opposition will, undoubtedly, affect the stability and cohesion of the LDF.
Be that as it may, it won’t be easy for the KC(M) either to take a decision in the matter as the party is vertically divided on the question of an alliance with the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front(LDF). While party chief KM Mani and his son, Jose K Mani, MP favour an alliance with the CPI(M), the PJ Joseph faction is not keen on joining hands with the CPI(M). The Joseph faction wants the KC(M) to return to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) which the party had left following differences. (IPA Service)