Kottayam: Former minister K.M. Mani nudged his Kerala Congress party a step closer to the ruling Left Democratic Front by accepting the CPM’s support to his party’s candidate, Zacharias Kuthiraveli, to the post of the Kottayam district panchayat president. Zacharias Kuthiraveli won the election on Wednesday by securing 12 votes over his opponent Congress leader Sunny Pambady's eight votes.
Zacharias’ Kuthiraveli’s election as the district panchayat president means that the Kerala Congress has no plans to patch up with former ally Congress. While the Congress has eight members in the district panchayat, the Kerala Congress has six and the CPM seven. CPI’s lone member and the representative of P.C. George’s party will abstain from the election.
The Congress termed Mani’s decision to switch loyalty as a breach of trust. Jose K Mani MP and Kerala Congress MLAs should resign, demanded district Congress president Joshy Philip, the former district panchayat president who quit after he was selected as the district Congress Committee president.
Erstwhile partners Congress and Kerala Congress had agreed to share the top post in the district panchayat after the local body election in October 2015. Philip was supposed to quit after two and a half years to make way for the Kerala Congress nominee. However, Philip had to resign ahead of the date agreed upon, but not before he made sure that the Kerala Congress would stick to the original agreement.
Congress leader Sunny Pambady was to succeed Philip for the remaining tenure marked for the party. The Kerala Congress was in no mood to wait though.
The decision has not gone down well within the Kerala Congress. Though the party had left the Congress-led United Democratic Front, it had decided to keep intact the tie-ups in the local self-government bodies. The political consensus and the written agreement with Philip have been ignored when Mani and team decided to upset the applecart with the CPM’s support.