Left and right eye Mani
In a world of coalition politics, when alliances of parties take place more out of convenience than on conviction, 80-year-old Finance Minister K.M.Mani and his Kerala Congress-Mani is much sought after.
With the Left opposition in Kerala making it clear that if he decides to move out of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), he will not be out in the political wilderness.
An edit page article in Saturday's Bharatiya Janata Party organ Janmabhoomi said Mani will be accepted with both hands in national politics, if he decides to come over.
"When some decides to come, history itself would be re-written," says the Janmabhoomi article, giving enough hints that the BJP will treat Mani with due respect.
Mani is perhaps the only legislator in the country who has an outstanding record of winning every election since 1967 (from the Pala constituency in Kottayam district) and one who has presented a dozen state budgets.
In the past two weeks, the print and electronic media was buzz with speculation that Mani and his party is being wooed seriously by the Left opposition in the party. Congress spokesperson Pandalam Sudhakaran then had to seek the help of the social media and through a post in his face book page asked, "Why is Mani sir not opening his mouth on the media speculation?"
The speculation was that if Mani jumps from the UDF along with eight of his fellow party legislators, the Left will make him the next chief minister of the state for the remainder of the present term of around 18 months.
In the 140-member Kerala assembly, the ruling UDF has 75 members while the Left opposition has 65. Hence, if Mani decides to move on, the present Oommen Chandy government will be reduced to a minority.
Soon came Mani in full public glare and said the question of he becoming the chief minister is something which he himself has not even thought, then how can he speak of other things.
"There is no thought of any such thing and I will open my mouth when I wish to," said Mani.
Soon came Chandy and breathed fire on the media and its present way of "creating news".
"In the past there was an 'owner' for statements but today it's more of assumptions and presumptions. Please do not worry of the UDF, we are united and function as a well oiled unit and there are no issues at all," said Chandy.
But, Mani and his political outfit has jumped fences and has been an ally of the CPI-M also in the past and even was a minister in the E.K.Nayanar led ministry in 1980 and each time there is a news that Mani might jump again, it is never dismissed as the imagination of a political journalist.
And now with even the BJP too eyeing him, it cannot be dismissed outright because for a brief while his party did put their arms around the BJP as part of a political understanding of working together in the Thiruvalla Municipality a few years back.
Mani's party has a member each in the two house of parliament and the Lok Sabha member Jose K.Mani is his son.
(Posted on 09-08-2014)