In a move that will have far-reaching impact in Kerala politics, the Kerala Congress (M) decided to leave the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) on Sunday.
KC(M) Chairman K.M. Mani announced the decision in Pathanamthitta after the party's crucial two-day meeting. The party, the third largest constituent of the UDF and a long-term partner of the Congress, made the decision after much parleys.
"Several Congress leaders worked against Kerala Congress (M) for long. They tried to make us weak and insulted me and the party. We should have taken this decision earlier. The decision is taken now to the pride of Kerala Congress," Mani said.
The party will now function as an independent party and will keep equal distance from the UDF, LDF and BJP-led NDA, Mani said at a press meet. Kerala Congress (M) will sit at assembly as a separate block, the party has decided, Mani said.
When a reporter asked whether the party will return to the UDF later, Mani quipped, "We are leaving now and you are asking this question. We will never return."
However, Mani said the tie-up with the UDF will continue in local bodies. In Parliament, KC(M)'s support to Congress-led UPA will be based on issues, he added.
When asked about CPM and BJP expressing interests in taking his party into their fold, Mani said, "Kerala Congress (M) is like a pretty young woman and there would be many attempts to woo the party."
Concluding the press meet, Mani also said it is with extreme pain that his party is leaving the UDF and that he holds no grudge against anyone. With the announcement, a political relationship of over three decades has come to an end.