The Jose K Mani Faction of Kerala Congress (M), which is the latest ally of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), has announced its party candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections on April 6. Jose K Mani will contest from his bastion, Pala Assembly constituency, the party said in a statement on Wednesday. The party has declared 12 candidates for various seats.
Sitting MLAs Roshy Augustine and Dr N Jayaraj will contest from Idukki and Kanjirapally respectively. Former MLA Stephen George will contest from his previous seat of Kaduthuruthy in Kottayam district. Advocate Sebastain Kulathungal, member of Kerala Congress (M)’s state Steering committee, will contest from Poonjar.
Dennis Antony, who had resigned from the Congress and joined Kerala Congress (M), will contest from Chalakudy. He is the former Chalakudy block panchayat president. Professor KI Antony, a top member of the party, will contest from Thodupuzha.
Some of the other candidates include advocate Job Micheal from Changanassery, Babu Joseph from Perumbavoor, party General Secretary Advocate Pramod Narayan from Ranni, Dr Sindhumol Jacob from Piravom, and Saji Kuttyanimattom from Irikkur.
Notably, the party has not declared the candidate from Kuttiadi constituency in Kozhikode, which the Left front has allotted to the Jose faction. This comes after protests by CPI(M) members in the region. The party statement says that the candidate for the Kuttiadi seat will be announced later after discussions with CPI(M) leadership.
The Jose K Mani faction had joined the LDF on October 14, 2020. The faction had been a long-time ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) since 1982.
In June 2020, the UDF had ousted the Jose Mani faction for not abiding by the coalition agreement pertaining to the presidentialship of a local body. As per the agreement, Sebastian Kulathunkal, who is part of the Jose faction of Kerala Congress (M) and the then president of Kottayam district panchayat, was supposed to step down and hand over the charge to the PJ Joseph faction of the Kerala Congress (M).
The issues within the two factions of Kerala Congress(M) had intensified following the death of KM Mani, party’s founder and father of Jose K Mani. The PJ Joseph faction is presently with the UDF.
Though the Jose faction was welcomed to the LDF fold, issues later surfaced as Jose K Mani demanded the Pala Assembly seat in the upcoming Assembly polls. Mani C Kappen, who was sworn in as the LDF MLA from Pala in the 2019 bye-election following the death of KM Mani, quit LDF and joined UDF last month after the LDF decided to give Pala seat to Jose K Mani in the upcoming Assembly polls.
Mani C Kappen’s victory for the LDF in Pala was much lauded as he contested against Jose K Mani and won in Jose Mani’s bastion. But with LDF giving Pala to Jose K Mani for the Assembly election, Kappen joined the UDF.
However, the Jose faction is now facing wrath from the CPI(M) workers in Kuttiadi as the LDF allotted the Assembly constituency to the Kerala Congress (M) faction. On Wednesday, hundreds of CPI(M) workers took to streets in Kuttiadi, expressing strong dissent over the party giving up the seat to Jose faction. As a result, the Jose faction has put its candidature for Kuttiadi on hold.
Watch: Protests in kozhikode’s Kuttiadi