Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 15 (PTI)Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday claimed the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) lost its 'lifeline' after the departure of ally Kerala Congress(M) faction led by Jose K Mani and that the combine was headed for a "massive collapse".

The KC(M) took a clear political stand and said it was ready to cooperate with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) which "protects secularism", he said, a day after the faction decided to sever its decades old ties with the UDF.

"The leaders of the Left front havewelcomed KC(M)...

One by one, the allies are leaving the UDF and it's headed for a massive collapse," Vijayan told reporters here.

He claimed more people will leave the UDF and join the ruling Left front.

"This is a major change in the political atmosphere of Kerala. A change which will strengthen the Left Front in the state. With the KC(M) leaving the UDF, the Congress-led Front has lost its lifeline and is facing imminent disintegration," the chief minister said.

Vijayan evaded a direct answer to a question about the Left front's protest against KC(M) leader late K M Mani over the bar bribery scam when he was the Finance Minister in the previous UDF government and whether it will now withdraw the statements against him.

"Even K M Mani had stated that it was the Congress which had backstabbed him in the Bar scam issue. Some people have heartburn due to this political development. What can we do?" he asked.

Ahead of the state assembly elections due in the first half of next year, the LDF received a shot in the arm with KC (M) faction announcing its decision to quit the UDF and work alongside the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF.

Party leader Jose K Mani has said he would quit his Rajya Sabha membership, won with the support of the UDF.

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran has said the decision was 'immature', while former chief minister Oommen Chandy termed it 'unfortunate'.