After getting a windfall in the form of a Rajya Sabha seat, Kerala Congress-Mani on Friday night named party supremo K.M. Mani’s son Jose K. Mani, the sitting Kottayam Lok Sabha member, as its candidate.
“Our party leadership that met here on Friday night has decided to nominate Jose K.Mani to the Rajya Sabha. The party felt that he was the most suitable candidate and hence his name was an unanimous choice,” P.J. Joseph, the KC-M’s second in command told the media after the meeting.
KC-M, after being an ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) for over four decades, in 2016 walked out of the grouping but returned on Friday, after the top state Congress leadership with the concurrence of the party high command, decided to hand the Rajya Sabha seat to Mani’s party, as a “gift” for his return.
The Congress decided to sacrifice sitting Rajya Sabha member and former Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who was expecting to get a fourth successive term.
While earlier in the day, Mani ruled himself out for the seat, he also said that his “wish” is that his son Jose also does not get nominated.
But after a late night meeting of the top KC-M leadership at Mani’s residence near here, the decision was made to field Jose for the Rajya Sabha seat.
Of the three seats that fall vacant later this month, the ruling Left alliance will win two and the Congress-led UDF one.
Jose is a two-time Lok Sabha member, though losing in his debut electoral contest in 2004.
Long time foe of Mani, veteran legislator P.C. George said this is the most shameful episode witnessed in Kerala politics as everyone knows that Jose stands no chance of winning his sitting Lok Sabha seat next year and hence Mani felt that the Rajya Sabha would be the best bet for his son.
“Since the law allows six months time for an elected member to take oath, Jose will wait for that time and after that, there will not be any time for conducting a by-election to the Kottayam seat that he vacates,” he claimed.