Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 21 (IANS) A rift has emerged in the opposition ranks in Kerala as one of the factions of the Kerala Congress-Mani has issued a whip to its two legislators to stay away from the no-confidence motion, which will be moved by the Congress-led UDF against the Pinarayi Vijayan government on August 24.
Talking to IANS, the party’s chief whip, Roshy Augustine said that he has issued the whip which will be applicable to him and party legislator N. Jayaraj.
“We are not in the UDF as we have been ousted, so the UDF whip is not applicable to us. Moreover, the whip has to be issued by the respective party whip. I have issued the whip and it’s to stay away from it (from the motion). We have not decided on if we need to be present in the house when the motion is moved, or if we need to stay away from the house,” he said.
The erstwhile Kerala Congress-Mani was founded by K.M. Mani, who passed away last year.
Since his death for all practical purposes, the party is divided between veteran legislator P.J. Joseph who has three legislators, including himself, and the other faction led by Mani’s son and Rajya Sabha member Jose K. Mani, who has two legislators.
On August 24, along with the no-confidence motion, another event is the Rajya Sabha bypoll to fill in the vacancy caused by the death of sitting member and media baron M.P. Veerendra Kumar.
Augustime said he and his fellow legislator will not participate in this too.
The UDF, after failing to prevail upon Jose K. Mani to withdraw his party nominee from the poll to a local body in Kottayam, purportedly removed the KC-Mani from the combine, but later UDF Chairman and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala clarified that it was a “media creation” and no one has been ousted from the UDF.
However, since then, the faction headed by Jose Mani has been keeping a distance from the UDF.