EC freezes ‘two leaves’ symbol of Kerala Congress (M) ahead of local body polls

The state EC issued an order freezing the symbol as both the factions, one led by son of late party supremo K M Mani, and the other one headed by MLA PJ Joseph claimed ownership.
Jose K Mani
Jose K Mani
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Ahead of the three-phased local body polls in Kerala, the State Election Commission on Tuesday temporarily froze the "two leaves" party symbol of the Kerala Congress (M), a prominent party which had split recently. The state Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran issued an order freezing the symbol as both the fighting factions, one led by Rajya Sabha MP and son of late party supremo K M Mani, and the other one headed by MLA and former minister, P J Joseph, claimed ownership of the symbol.

With this, both the factions cannot use the symbol in the upcoming local body polls. The poll body's action would be subject to the verdict of two existing cases in this regard at the Kerala High Court, EC sources in Thiruvananthapuram said.

Based on their request, the symbol of 'chenda' (drum) was allotted to the Joseph faction and 'table fan' to the Jose faction to contest in the local body elections, they said.

After severing its three-decades-old ties with the opposition Congress-led UDF, the Jose K Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) had joined the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF recently.

The Jose faction's issues with the UDF leadership aggravated in June this year after it was "ousted" from the Congress-led Front in connection with the tussle over the Kottayam district panchayat chief post.

Earlier in September this year, the Election Commission (EC) had recognised Jose K Mani’s faction as the original party and allotted the two leaves party symbol to Jose’s faction.

Stating that truth has finally triumphed, Jose K Mani had said, “This is a victory for KM Mani. We lost the Pala bye-election because we did not have the symbol. We will now seek the resignation of the legislators in the faction led by Joseph.”

Joseph said at the time that they would go in appeal against the EC directive.

With IANS inputs

Elections 2023

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