RS poll result will diminish UDF: CPI(M)

Kodiyeri welcomes Jose K. Mani’s decision to defy the whip

CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday said the result of the Rajya Sabha byelection on August 24 would further diminish the relevance of the United Democratic Front (UDF) as a credible political coalition in the State.

LDF candidate Shreyams Kumar would garner more votes than the ruling front’s candidate had polled in the previous Rajya Sabha polls. The Jose K. Mani faction in the Kerala Congress (M), which claimed to have at least two legislators in the Assembly, has defied the whip of the UDF.

The CPI(M) State secretariat, which met here on Friday, welcomed Mr. Mani’s stance. The UDF lacked the organisational strength to keep the coalition intact.

(Mr. Mani has not revealed whether his legislators would abstain from the voting or cast their lot in favour of the LDF. Mr. Balakrishnan said the LDF would debate whether it should welcome Mr. Mani into its fold later.)

Mr. Balakrishnan challenged the UDF to sit through the debate and participate in the voting. “Do not cut loose and run after your leaders have spoken,” he said.

The UDF’s no-confidence motion against the government would be defeated overwhelmingly. The coalition would suffer a severe setback. The defeat would whittle down the Opposition’s numbers in the House, he said.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the fissures in the UDF had begun to show. For one, the UDF was divided on the issue of the conversion of the iconic Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque by the revanchist government in Turkey. The IUML had welcomed the move. The Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Conference, traditionally supportive of the UDF, has opposed it. The UDF leadership still had no say in the matter.

Likewise, the Congress unabashedly welcomed the laying of the foundation stone for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. At the same time, the IUML passed a meek two-line political resolution opposing the move. “The Congress had expressed umbrage that the RSS had not invited its leader for the shilanyas (foundation-laying),” he said.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the UDF was at a loss to take a stance against the Central government’s National Education Policy (NEP) that discriminated against minorities, backward caste and Scheduled Caste citizens. However, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, MP, and KC(M) chairperson P.J. Joseph had welcomed the new policy.

The Congress appeared to speak the language of the BJP in the State. It had laid down a smokescreen of lies in tandem with the RSS to besmirch the image of the LDF government. The Congress had targeted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family. The CPI(M) would politically counter the false propaganda.

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