No untouchables in politics, says Mani

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No untouchables in politics, says Mani

Thiruvananthapuram, May 4 (PTI) Erstwhile UDF ally Kerala Congress (M) today said there were no ‘untouchables’ in politics but sought to play down the party winning a civic body chief post with the support of ruling CPI(M).

A day after kicking up a political storm by capturing the Kottayam District Panchayat with the support of the Marxists, KC-M supremo K Mani chose to keep his cards close to the chest saying it cannot be seen as a prelude to joining LDF.

He said the decision to seek CPI(M), though unfortunate, was taken at the local level.

KCM had last year severed its ties with the UDF following differences on the bar bribery scam, over which Mani was forced to resign as the finance minister.

Mani said the party leadership had not given any directive in connection with the panchayat election.

“This is a local decision. It cannot be seen as a prelude to our joining the LDF camp. This cannot be seen as ‘political betrayal’ as alleged by Congress,” he told reporters here.

Mani, on the other hand, blamed the local Congress leadership for the development.

The KCM has not applied for entry into any front, he said replying to a query. “We have not bowed before anyone.” Taking a dig at the Congress for attacking it over the CPI(M) support, Mani said that it had also cooperated with the Marxist party on earlier occasions.

“There are no untouchables in politics and even senior Congress leader A K Antony had joined the LDF ministry headed by E K Nayanar,” he said.

At the time of KCM severing ties with the UDF, there was an understanding between them that their relationship will continue at the local level.

Congress was caught off guard yesterday with the KCM deciding to join hands with the CPI(M) in Kottayam.

KPCC President M M Hassan said Mani and his son Jose K Mani, MP, had betrayed the Congress.

Another Congress leader K C Joseph wanted the CPI-M to make it clear if they still stood by the various allegations made against Mani.

Meanwhile, BJP state president, Kummannam Rajasekharan said NDA had not closed its doors on any party.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.