Former CPI-M MP applies for Congress membership

Former Kerala MP KS Manoj, who quit the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) over his religious belief, said Friday that he has applied to become a member of the Congress.

Updated: May 14, 2010, 15:07 PM IST

New Delhi: Former Kerala MP KS Manoj, who quit the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) over his religious belief, said Friday that he has applied to become a member of the Congress.

Manoj told reporters that he met state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala and former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy here Thursday and submitted an application for Congress membership.

Manoj, who represented the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency, said their response was positive.

"They assured me that the application will be handed over to (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi," he said.

Both Chennithala and Chandy met Mohsina Kidwai, the Congress party` Kerala in-charge, Thursday evening and handed over Manoj`s application to her, said a Congress leader.

Manoj was the CPI-M nominee from Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency in 2004. He trounced veteran Congress leader VM Sudheeran.
He contest the 2009 general elections as a CPI-M candidate from the same seat but was defeated by Congress nominee K.C. Venugopal.

Manoj, a Christian, decided to quit the CPI-M following a party directive to members to put ideology above religious belief.
His decision forced CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat to say that while party members may practice their faith, they should uphold secular values and oppose the intrusion of religion into affairs of the state.

IANS