K.M.Mani has once again proved his Machiavellian mettle. In the fifty odd years of his political career, the Kerala Congress leader has been a master survivor in the state's murky politics. No leader in Kerala can match Mani in the art and craft of achieving ultimately what he wants come what may. After me my son has been Mani's hidden agenda for the past several years. There is no denying that the son rise politics began in the opposition from within his party. But when Congress decided to grant its only Rajya Sabha seat to Kerala Congress (M), it was Mani who heaved a sigh of relief for he could ensure that his son Jose K.Mani would be safe at least for the next six years.
The Mani family is celebrating the unexpected boost to his Jose from an unexpected corner at an unexpected time even as banner of revolt has been raised in Congress against the gesture. Every leader of the Congress was seen going to the media since Thursday's Delhi development. With only one more year to go for parliament elections, the strength of UPA in the Lok Sabha stands reduced by one thanks to the Congress party's Kerala unit going out of the way to lure Mani's party into the Congress-led front in the state. Protest messages from Congress leaders, young and old, have been flooding the AICC headquarters. The Congress high command is visibly perturbed. None other than Rahul Gandhi reportedly now doubts whether he and his colleagues in Delhi were taken for a royal ride on the issue of Rajya Sabha seat. Raga feels that the Congress leadership in Kerala had not done proper consultations with all concerned before taking up the matter with Delhi. His direction on Saturday, to Mukul Vasnik in charge of Kerala to submit forthwith a detailed report on the state of affairs arises out of this ill feeling.
Interestingly among the Congress trio - Ommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and M.M.Hassan - opposition leader Chennithala is lately on a bid to wash off his hands. Rajya Sabha vice chairman P.J.Kurien who lost another tenure in the house thanks to his party's gesture to Kerala Congress (M) told a press conference on Saturday that Chennithala had apologised to the former. Chennithala was reported to have informed Kurien that the controversial decision was never his responsibility. But Hassan and Chandy are firm in sticking to their stance. So also is P.K.Kunhali Kutty who played the crucial role. Kunhali Kutty contends that everything was done in the interests of Congress and UDF with a view to ensuring maximum seats from the state in 2019 Lok Sabha poll.
As rebellion rages in Congress, CPM and BJP are watching the fun. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan challenged the dissidents in Congress to field a rebel candidate in the Rajya Sabha election. He added that if they so dared, CPM could consider supporting that candidate if required. BJP, now without a state president, seems waiting and watching without committing anything in the open. Former KPCC president V.M.Sudheeran, it may be recalled had suggested that the developments in the Congress would only prove politically beneficial to BJP. This prompted BJP national executive member P.K.Krishnadas to announce that the doors of BJP were open to those Congressmen with integrity.