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Thiruvananthapuram:

 
The Jose K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress has decided against aligning with any political front in the state for the time being.

Speaking to the media, here on Monday, Mani, a Rajya Sabha member, said he would keep his options open. However, at the national level, he will remain with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

The opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) had recently decided to keep the Mani faction out due to differences of opinion with Kerala Congress Chairman P.J. Joseph.

Speculations were rife that Mani would align with the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF). CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had said the Mani faction was influential in the Kottayam district.

With the local body polls likely in October, the CPM and the LDF were trying to woo Mani into their fold.

But the CPI, the second largest constituent of the LDF, had put a spanner in the CPM’s works by saying the LDF was not for any immediate expansion. It also said Mani and his colleagues must quit their elected offices and then consider joining the front.

This had led to a war of words between the CPM and the CPI.

Recently, Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party president K. Surendran had said the Mani faction had influence in the Kottayam district and it should consider joining the NDA in the state.

Mani remains non-committal. Sources in the UDF told IANS the Kerala Congress leader would remain independent for the time being and later return to the UDF.

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