All eyes on Rajya Sabha berth in State

Seat fell vacant with the resignation of KC(M) leader Jose K. Mani

With the stage set for election to the Rajya Sabha seat that fell vacant with the resignation of Jose K. Mani, all eyes are now on whether the regional party will be able to keep the berth for itself.

The KC(M), which has remained highly aspirational in its association with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and even revamped itself on a semi-cadre line, has already set its eyes keen on the seat.

“The vacancy is for a Rajya Sabha seat represented by the KC(M). A decision on the candidature will be announced at the right time after due consultations within the party,” Mr. Mani told mediapersons here on Sunday.

While the LDF, in general, too appears favourably disposed towards giving the seat back to the KC(M), discussions are now on within the KC(M) as to who should be nominated as the candidate.

While Mr. Mani prefers to keep the cards close to his chest, the selection is mostly likely to be between himself or KC(M) general secretary Stephen George.

According to party sources, Mr. Mani, who lost the Assembly election in Pala, has been in a strange situation of leading the party without any parliamentary position, though the political front he belongs to, remains in power.

Considering that it is a situation that none of the Kerala Congress leaders had to confront in its more than five decades long history, the task came as a real test of character for Mr. Mani as he has to control the party legislators, especially those holding the ministerial berth.

“But even though the captain has lost the game, Mr. Mani has been successful in reinvigorating the party and ensuring it a prominent position within the LDF. Having resigned from the Upper House to focus on the party as well as in State politics, it remains to be seen if he will walk back and go to the Rajya Sabha once again,” said a senior KC(M) leader.

Mr. Mani had announced his resignation from the Rajya Sabha as early as in October last year while declaring the party’s decision to join the LDF. He, however, delayed the move till January in view of a legal battle with the Kerala Congress faction led by P.J. Joseph over the party symbol `two leaves’.

Following this, he contested to the Assembly from Pala but was defeated. Mr. George, who contested from Kaduthuruthy, too lost to Mons Joseph.

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