Thiruvananthapuram | With Kerala Congress(M) Vice-Chairman P C George removed from the post of government Chief Whip, its supremo K M Mani today made it clear that KC(M) would not expel the party dissident. Expressing happiness over United Democratic Front (UDF) accepting KC(M) demand for George’s removal from the post yesterday, the State Finance Minister Mani said KC(M) was not keen to expel anyone from the party.
George later said he would remain with UDF and would not resign from the post of party Vice-Chairman. He also wrote a letter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today raising fresh allegations of corruption and alleged that Mani refused to take steps to check the fall in price of rubber to help tyre majors.
After George leveled allegations against Mani’s son Jose K Mani, the party supremo said, people of the state are watching …and let them judge the merit of such charges. According to political observers, George’s intention is to ensure he was sacked from the party so that he could revive his faction Kerala Congress (Secular) and continue as a part of UDF as a separate partner, without attracting the anti-defection law.
George, who headed KC (S), was with LDF but later became part of UDF after his faction merged with KC(M) in 2010. But it is understood, Mani was not in favour of keeping George in the Front as a separate party and wanted him to continue in the party by accepting a ‘small punishment’. KC(M) was irked with George after he made several public remarks against Mani after he presented the budget on March 13 in the assembly amid protests by LDF opposition.
The ruling front is hoping to find an amicable end to the crisis mainly because of the civic polls later this year and assembly polls next year. Also, the front could not afford to lose the support of even a single MLA. UDF has a wafer thin majority of 73 in the 140-member assembly with one seat vacant following the death of former Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan, while the CPI-M led LDF has 65 members.
KC(B) which recently quit UDF has one member. Significantly, the biennial Rajya Sabha polls in the state for three seats is scheduled on April 20. As per the present strength, UDF could win two seats and opposition LDF one. Hence, it is important for the ruling front not to disturb the present legislative arithmetic.
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