Party working chairman PJ Joseph refused to allot the party symbol to Jose Tom Pulikkunnel.

Kerala Congress M candidate submits nomination as UDF independent for Pala bye-pollJose Tom
news Politics Wednesday, September 04, 2019 - 19:26

Kerala Congress (M) candidate l for the Pala bye-election, Jose Tom Pulikunnel submitted his nomination on Wednesday. However, he had to file nomination as UDF independent since the party working chairman PJ Joseph refused to issue the party’s two leaves symbol to him.

Jose Tom is a consensus candidate of the factional group led by Jose K Mani, the son of late KM Mani. Meanwhile, in a surprising move Joseph Kandathil, a politician belonging to the PJ Joseph faction submitted his nomination also as an independent. Joseph Kandathil's nomination is believed to be a tactical move by the veteran politician to spoil Tom Jose's chances.

The bye-election to be held on September 23, was necessitated by the death of party doyen KM Mani who died on April 9 at the age of 86.

Though he was under pressure from UDF leader, PJ Joseph did not relent and refused to allot the party symbol unless his demand to be made party chairman was approved by Jose K Mani. Joseph also insisted that the party symbol should be allotted to someone who is acceptable to all. A meeting with UDF convener and Congress leader Benny Behanan on August 31 also failed to make any headway. 

“KCM candidate filing nomination as party independent has happened in particular political circumstances. But that won’t affect the chances of the party candidate. We don’t know why Joseph Kandathil filed the nomination papers,” Roshy Augustine MLA, of the Jose K Mani faction told TNM.

PJ Joseph and Jose K Mani greeting each other at the commemoration of KM Mani

Mani C Kappan is the LDF candidate while N Hari  is the candidate of the BJP-led NDA.

However, Joseph faction maintains that Joseph Kandathil is not a candidate suggested by PJ Joseph.  

“That was not with the knowledge of PJ Joseph. Some party workers decided that at the local level. PJ Joseph has given him direction to withdraw the nomination,” Mons Joseph MLA, a confidant of PJ Joseph told TNM.

The last day for withdrawing nomination is September 7.

On Joseph’s disagreement to allot the party symbol to Jose Tom, Mons Joseph said that Jose K Mani had not made any official request for the symbol.

The rift had begun well before the death of KM Mani, who enjoyed the status of an undisputable leader for decades. He projected his son as the heir to the party by sidelining Joseph.  

Read: Kerala Congress (M) splits as Jose K Mani is elevated as party chairperson


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