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|Founded||9 October 1964|
|Headquarters||State Committee Office, Near Star Theatre Junction, Kottayam South, Kerala.|
|Colours||Half white and half red|
The Kerala Congress is a collective name for a few regional political parties in the state of Kerala, India. The mass base of these parties predominantly consists of Christians from the southern districts of Kottayam and Idukki, immigrants in northern Kerala districts, and the Nairs from Kottarakkara and Pathanapuram in Kollam district. Currently, Kerala Congress(M) is the third largest party after the Congress and IUML, in the opposition alliance of United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala. The party has six MLAs in the current Kerala Legislative Assembly, and one Member of Parliament, in the Rajya Sabha. The Chairman of the Kerala Congress (M) was K. M. Mani, former Minister of Finance in the UDF-led Kerala government, who resigned in disgrace in November 2015 after he was accused of wrongdoing in the infamous bar bribery case. K.M. Mani died in 2019, leaving the Kerala Congress political formation to uncertainty. The party has its roots in the erstwhile Travancore region and is traditionally dominated by the farmers, mostly the Saint Thomas Christians.
- 1 Current Factions
- 2 Splits and mergers
- 2.1 1977 Split - Kerala Congress (B)
- 2.2 United Kerala Congress
- 2.3 2016 Split - Kerala Congress (Democratic)
- 3 Notable leaders of Kerala Congress parties
- 4 References
- 5 External links
- Kerala Congress (M) led by the late KM Mani and currently led by his son Jose K. Mani
- Kerala Congress (M) led by P. J. Joseph, C. F. Thomas, Mons Joseph and Thomas Unniyadan
- Kerala Congress (Jacob) led by Anoop Jacob and Johnny Nellore
- Kerala Congress (B) led by R. Balakrishna Pillai and K. B. Ganesh Kumar
- Kerala Congress (Skaria Thomas) led by Skaria Thomas
- Janadhipathya Kerala Congress led by K. Francis George
- Kerala Congress (Thomas) led by P.C. Thomas
- Kerala Congress (Nationalist) led by Kuruvilla Matthew
- Kerala Congress (Secular)
- Kerala Janapaksham Secular led by PC George
- Kerala Vikas Congress (Prakash Kuriakose) led by Prakash Kuriakose
Splits and mergers
The Kerala Congress has suffered severe divisions and several factions (called groups), and a number of parties have emerged over the years, all claiming the name Kerala Congress in various times in its history. Factions included the parent under P. J. Joseph, Kerala Congress (Mani) under K. M. Mani, Kerala Congress (Balakrishna Pillai) under R. Balakrishna Pillai, and Kerala Congress (Jacob) under Johnny Nellore. The group that had retained the official recognition by the Election Commission of India to the name 'Kerala Congress' was the one led by P. J. Joseph (which is informally called the Joseph group)  until 2010.
1977 Split - Kerala Congress (B)
Kerala Congress grew under K. M. George. R. Balakrishna Pillai was another founding leader of the party. Besides these two leaders Karingozhakkal Mani Mani, popularly called K.M. Mani and P. J. Joseph, the youth front leader rose as prominent leaders of the party. After the death of K. M. George in 1976, there was tussle for control over the party between Balakrishna Pillai and K. M Mani. Pillai felt, as the senior most leader, he would be the de facto leader of the party. However Mani and Joseph had more followers. In the year 1977, just before the Assembly elections, R. Balakrishna Pillai announced a split from the parent Kerala Congress. This group came to be known as Kerala Congress (Balakrishna Pillai) with R. Balakrishna Pillai as the Chairman. In the Assembly elections of 1977 Kerala Congress stayed with UDF and secured 20 seats where as Pillai group secured 2 seats with LDF
1979 Split - Kerala Congress (M)
Kerala Congress was again split in the year 1979, when veteran Indian politician and the then Minister of Home Affairs in the Kerala government, Karingozhakkal Mani Mani, popularly called K.M. Mani, announced a split from the parent Kerala Congress, owing to difference of opinions with P. J. Joseph. This group came to be known as Kerala Congress (M) with K. M. Mani as the Chairman. In the 1979 Panchayat elections Kerala Congress (M) stayed with U. D. F. and Kerala Congress under P. J. Joseph stayed with L. D. F. In 1980 Assembly elections both factions switched the sides. Kerala Congress (M) moved over to L. D. F. along with Congress Leader A. K. Antony and Kerala Congress under P. J. Joseph moved over to U. D. F. Later Kerala Congress (M) returned to the U. D. F. All three factions represented the U. D. F. in 1982 Assembly lections as separate entities. In the 1982 U. D. F government, K. M Mani (Finance), P. J. Joseph (Revenue), R. Balakrishna Pilai (Transport), T. M. Jacob ( Education) became ministers.
1985 Merger - Kerala Congress
In 1985 the Kerala Congress (M) and Kerala Congress (Balakrishna Pillai) merged with its parent Kerala Congress under P. J. Joseph while the two factions realized that the splits are indeed weakening the party. The merged Kerala Congress had 25 MLAs and 4 Ministers. On 25 May 1985, at a public meeting at Ernakulam, R Balakrishna Pllai, then a Minister in the Kerala Cabinet, allegedly incited the people to resort to protests like 'Punjab Model' to get the rights of Kerala State. This became a huge controversy and Pillai was forced to resign from the Cabinet and his portfolio was given to K. M Mani. Later the High Court of Kerala gave relief to Pillai. On this grounds the Kerala Congress under Chairman P. J. Joseph requested the then Chief Minister K. Karunakaran to reindic Pillai to the cabinet. Karunakaran saw this as an opportunity to weaken Kerala Congress and took a stand that for Pillai to be re-indicted to the cabinet Kerala Congress has to surrender the Finance portfolio held by Mani or be content with 3 minister ships. This caused Mani to be upset and following a sequence of events, the seeds of another split was already sown.
1987 Split - Kerala Congress (M)
Just before the Assembly elections of 1987 the differences between the factions under K. M Mani and P. J. Joseph got wider following the 'Punjab Model' speech issue. The Kerala Congress was again split when Mani famously declared 'If it is a split, So be it'. The faction under K. M. Mani was again known as Kerala Congress (M). Pillai and Joseph remained as Kerala Congress. T. M Jacob choose to stay with K. M Mani. In general there was a discontent among the Kerala Congress leaders that K. M. Mani was not putting the interests of the party, but a large number of ordinary party men stayed with Mani. A lot of Mani's earlier loyal leadership team including the leaders who were initially chosen by Mani to negotiate with Joseph, like O. Lukose and P. C. Joseph had to finally align with Joseph in the political situation that unfolded. However K. M. Mani still commanded a lot of loyalty in ordinary party men who were unaware of the insider information.
1993 Split - Kerala Congress (Jacob)
On 16 December 1993, then Irrigation Affairs Minister T. M. Jacob MLA along with Johny Nellore MLA, P. M. Mathew MLA, Mathew Stephen MLA, Oommen Mathew, Vakkanad Radhakrishnan, and George Kunnappuzha split from Kerala Congress (M)citing differences with K. M. Mani. The newly formed faction was called Kerala Congress (Jacob).
Late 2000 splits and mergers - Kerala Congress (Secular) and IFDP
P. C. Thomas, son of P. T. Chacko who was part of Kerala Congress (M) and was the sitting M.P from Muvattupuzha had growing differences with K. M. Mani. This caused a split of a group of leaders from Kerala Congress (M) to form Indian Federal Democratic Party (I.F.D.P). IFDP tried to form a national level alliance but failed. Meanwhile, the parent Kerala Congress under P. J. Joseph also got split when P. C. George formed the Kerala Congress (Secular) splitting away from parent Kerala Congress under P. J. Joseph.
Later Indian Federal Democratic Party (I.F.D.P), under P. C. Thomas which split from the Mani group, merged with the Joseph group. A section of the Indian Federal Democratic Party under M. P. George retains its own cadre. In October 2009, Kerala Congress (Secular) under P. C. George, which split from the Joseph group, merged with the Mani group. A section of the Kerala Congress (Secular) denied the merger and began to be known as Kerala Congress (Socialist). Kerala Congress Socialist soon got dissolved when it merged with the Janata Dal (Secular).
Moves for United Kerala Congress
There were several unofficial moves for bringing back the various splinter groups together under one umbrella ever since the first split of 1979. In 2007, Kerala Congress (Mani), Kerala Congress (Secular), Kerala Congress (Balakrishna Pillai), and Kerala Congress (Jacob) tried to form a united forum, but this was unsuccessful.
United Kerala Congress
P. J. Joseph announced on 30 April 2010 the intention of his group to leave the Left Democratic Front (LDF), of which his group had been a constituent for two decades, and merge with the group led by K. M. Mani to form a united Kerala Congress. K. M. Mani reciprocated shortly thereafter, welcoming the exit of the Joseph group from the LDF. This reunited the two factions which had split in 1979 to form a single Kerala Congress, and made it the largest constituent of the United Democratic Front (UDF) after the Indian National Congress. However, other factions including Kerala Congress (Balakrishna Pillai), kept out of this merger. A faction under P. C. Thomas also dissented and stayed back with the Left Democratic Front, forming the Kerala Congress (Anti-merger Group).
During the 2011 Kerala Assembly elections, both P. J. Joseph and P. C. Thomas claimed the party symbol Bicycle and the party name Kerala Congress. Registration of the name Kerala Congress was temporarily frozen by the Election Commission as the arguments were inconclusive. The Joseph group which united with the Mani group was asked to adopt the name of Kerala Congress (M) and its symbol Two Leaves. The Thomas group was allotted the name Kerala Congress (Anti-merger Group) and the symbol Chair.
2014 Lok Sabha Election
Kerala Congress made claims to the Idukki Lok Sabha seat within the United Democratic Front for the 2014 elections. There was a strong sentiment against the sitting congress M.P, P. T. Thomas because of his stand on the Kasturirangan Report. Francis George, who was earlier M.P. from the constituency, was very vocal against the Kasturirangan Report and had mobilized the people in protest along with several other banners. The Congress high command denied seat to Kerala Congress and Mr. Dean Kuriakose was announced as the UDF candidate. The LDF tactically didn't announce its candidate in the hope of pulling over a winnable candidate like Francis George or P. C. Joseph from Kerala Congress, who were spearheading the protests against the Kasturirangan Report. But Francis George openly refused the offer to contest under the LDF banner. Finally Mr. Joice George, an advocate of 'Highrange Samrakshana Samiti', the forum set up against Kasturirangan Report, was fielded as LDF candidate and he went on to win the election banking on the sentiment against Kasturirangan Report. Just before 2014 Lok Sabha elections, on 11 March 2014, a few members led by Noble Mathew left Kerala Congress and form new fractional party named as Kerala Congress(Nationalist). This party is in alliance with BJP led National Democratic Alliance.
2016 Split - Kerala Congress (Democratic)
Notable leaders of Kerala Congress parties
|Office Bearer||Position||Current Group|
|K. M. Mani||Chairman||Kerala Congress (M)|
|R. Balakrishna Pillai||Leader||Kerala Congress (B)|
|P. J. Joseph||Working Chairman||Kerala Congress(J)|
|C. F. Thomas||Deputy Chairman||Kerala Congress (M)|
|Jose K. Mani||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|Joy Abraham||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|Thomas Unniyadan||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|K. B. Ganesh Kumar||MLA and Former Minister||Kerala Congress (B)|
|Monce Joseph||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(J)|
|N. Jayaraj||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|Thomas Chazhikadan||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|Chev. Dr. T. U. Kuruvilla||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(J)|
|Joseph M. Puthussery||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|Roshy Augustine||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|Victor T. Thomas||General Secretary||Kerala Congress(M)|
|P T Jose||General Secretary||Kerala Congress (M)|
Other notable leaders
- "ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA No.56/2010/PPS-II" (PDF). Election Commission of India. 17 September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
- Kerala Legislature. "Kerala legislative assembly". Niyamasabha.org. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- 1977 KC and Pilla Group. "History of Kerala Legislature". Kerala.gov. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
- "Kerala Congress (Socialist) to merge with Janata Dal (S) faction". Hinduonnet.com. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Setback for Kerala govt as Christian party part ways, NDTV, 1 May 2010". Ndtv.com. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Kerala Congress(J) pulls out of LDF, The Hindu, 30 Apr. 2010". Beta.thehindu.com. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "UDF consent not needed: Mani". Hinduonnet.com. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "KC-order" (PDF). Election Commission of India. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.[dead link]
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