At the same time, the Joseph camp is confident of contesting in Kuttanad, despite their setback from the ECI.
KOTTAYAM: After the setback from the Election Commission of India (ECI) which ruled that the Jose K Mani faction is the official Kerala Congress (M), PJ Joseph appears to be heading for another difficult situation following the Commission’s announcement of holding byelections in Kuttanad and Chavara assembly constituencies in November this year. While Joseph has a natural claim to the Kuttanad seat because his loyalist Jacob Abraham had contested as the KC(M) candidate in the assembly elections in 2016, the situation has completely changed this time in view of the internal conflicts in the party and the EC’s decision, which stripped him off all powers and the right to use the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol.
The Jose K Mani faction’s candidate, Jose Tom, had to contest as an independent candidate in Pala with ‘Pineapple’ as his symbol after Joseph, as the working chairman, denied him the party symbol. Plagued by internal conflicts in KC(M), Tom lost the contest to LDF candidate Mani C Kappan. When Kuttanad byelection is held, it would be a sweet revenge for the Jose camp, as the party symbol is now with them.
At the same time, the Joseph camp is confident of contesting in Kuttanad, despite their setback from the ECI. “The UDF can’t deny Joseph’s claim on Kuttanad seat as we had contested there in the previous election. If the EC is going ahead with its decision to conduct the byelection there, Joseph group’s candidate will contest,” said M J Jacob, a Joseph group loyalist.
With the Jose faction being kept away by the UDF, the Joseph camp considers that the coalition leadership would not hesitate to allocate the Kuttanad seat to them as there is no dispute prevailing in their group.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Jose is not interested in using Kuttanad seat as a bargaining chip to return to the UDF fold. “Our issues with the UDF are not based on Kuttanad seat. Hence, no discussion with the UDF on Kuttanad seat is in our consideration,” said a top KC(M) leader.
Jose won’t be left in lurch, says Kodiyeri
T’Puram: The CPM has extended an open invite to Jose K Mani’s Kerala Congress (M). Making clear the Left stance, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Jose faction won’t be left in the lurch if it parts ways with the UDF. “We do not have a negative approach towards Jose K Mani. If Jose leaves the UDF, he would not find himself on the streets. Once he makes clear his political stance, the Left would take a call after examining the same,” said Kodiyeri. So far, the Left front has not held talks with the Jose faction. “The Jose faction didn’t vote in the no-confidence motion. That itself is an open statement on his anti-UDF stance. Since he’s taking an anti-UDF and anti-BJP stance, he won’t be left in the lurch, he said. He also pointed out that after the EC order, Jose has become a favourite of the UDF.