A tense situation prevailed in Kottarakara town for almost two hours on Friday afternoon following a showdown between two factions of the Kerala Congress (B) in front of the venue where a reception had been organised for Forests Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar.

The situation was defused after party chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai and his supporters who had arrived there to gatecrash into the meeting venue left the scene on receiving information that Mr. Ganesh Kumar had decided not to attend the meeting following a request in this regard from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

However, Mr. Ganesh Kumar addressed his supporters through a mobile phone belonging to a leader of his faction who was present at the meet venue.

In his address, Mr. Ganesh Kumar alleged that the rival faction had employed hired gangs to attack his supporters in case the situation flared up. He said he had decided to keep away from the meeting on a request from the Chief Minister and in the larger interests of law and order.

Mr. Pillai and his supporters tried to barge into the meeting venue at 3.30 p.m.. Mr. Pillai breached a police cordon and walked ahead with his supporters. Mr. Ganesh Kumar’s supporters said Mr. Pillai was free to attend the meeting but there was no question of letting in his supporters. A big group of supporters of M. Ganesh Kumar rushed out of the meeting venue to block Mr. Pillai. A strong police posse rushed forward and formed a cordon between the two groups.

Mr. Pillai criticised the rival faction for organising a show of strength there.

Though Mr. Ganesh Kumar’s held that it was not a meeting to split the party but only a friendship gathering, Mr. Pillai said those attending the meeting do not belong to his party. More than 1000 supporters of Mr. Ganesh Kumar had arrived to attend the meeting..

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