Kerala Congress (M) chairman KM Mani attended a function organised by BJP Minority Morcha in Kochi on Monday, stirring a major debate among political circles in the state.

The event, arranged to honour Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostom, was inaugurated by BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan.

It is interesting to note that while the other guests at the function were given bouquet with roses, Kummanam handed Mani a bouquet with lotus flowers, BJP's symbol. And adding more curiosity to the development, Mani made an interesting remark about the bouquet during his speech.

"I'm used to getting roses. This is the first time I'm getting lotuses... it feels special," the veteran leader said, earning a roaring applause from the crowd.

When asked why Mani was given a lotus bouquet, Kummanam replied with a smile, "Why not? Both are flowers".

BJP leaders in Kerala had welcomed Mani to join the NDA on several occasions after he snapped ties with the Congress-led UDF earlier last year. Kummanam himself had previously said that the NDA's doors remain open to Mani and other Kerala Congress members.

Mani's next move is being watched closely by both political analysts and the general public in Kerala. Mani, who has been the finance minister in the Kerala government several times with the UDF, leads an important faction of the Kerala Congress.

Kerala Congress (M) had teamed up with archrivals CPM to nominate its candidate as president of the district panchayat elections in Kottayam last month, masterminding the defeat of Congress and signalling the end of its time-tested friendship with the party.

And now, with the "lotus is special" remark, Mani have just sounded the bugle for political realignments in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.