Two months after the death of party patriarch KM Mani, the Kerala Congress (M) has split. The faction led by Jose K Mani managed to out maneuver the faction led by PJ Joseph, with the former being elected as party chairperson.
The state committee meeting of the party that was held in its headquarters Kottayam on Sunday elected Mani's son Jose K Mani MP as the party chairperson. He has been elevated to the post that had been held by his father, a pragmatic politician, for decades. Joseph had been elected as the temporary chairman of the party in May.
However, the Jose K Mani faction in a unilateral move nullified Josephâ€™s chairmanship that eventually led to the split. Kerala Congress since its foundation in 1964 has undergone numerous splits. And it was KM Mani who said that Kerala Congress splits as it grows and grows as it splits.
An ally of the Congress in the United Democratic Front, the Kerala Congress (M) had six MLAs in 2016. Following the demise of KM Mani, its strength has reduced to five.
Mani had ensured that his son would take over the reins of the party in his absence and had carefully nurtured his political career too. Jose K Mani, who won from Kottayam in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, had been recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Some of the senior leaders of the party, however, are visibly unhappy over the development.
Party General Secretary Joy Abraham told media persons that the party should be led as per precedence and should not work like a fan association.
CF Thomas, an MLA said that what he wanted was that the party to stay united.
PJ Joseph, a senior politician, had expressed his resentment over being sidelined in the party even when Mani was alive. He had demanded the Kottayam seat for him in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Mani picked his trusted lieutenant Thomas Chazhikkadan as the candidate.
Joseph had been a minister multiple times and has held portfolios like Revenue, Public Works etc.
Josephâ€™s political party- Kerala Congress (J) merged with KC (M) in 2010 after parting ways with the CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front. KC (M) had been an ally of the United Democratic Front headed by the Congress. Though it had left the UDF in 2016, it returned to the front in June 2018.