Members come to blows at State committee meeting

Close on the heels of the “storm” in the Left Democratic Front partner Kerala Congress, another “thunderstorm” is brewing in the Kerala Congress splinter group in the ruling United Democratic Front, the Kerala Congress (Jacob).

A State committee meeting of the party here on Saturday elected Daisy Jacob, wife of the late T.M. Jacob as its vice-chairman. This is the first time she is holding any official party post.

The meeting also elected Vakkanad Radhakrishnan, so far vice-chairman, as new working chairman in place of Oommen Mathew, who is no more. George Joseph has been elected vice-chairman of the party.

The meeting which commenced on a peaceful manner spiralled into a verbal brickbat on the issue of the election of Ms. Jacob and Mr. Radhakrishnan, which later escalated into a scuffle as party members split into two factions and came to blows.

The scene turned violent after party chairman Johny Nelloor who, according to a group, tried to impose his strategy on the State committee. According to those opposing Mr. Nelloor, instead of holding the election of the office-bearers at the State committee meeting, the chairman and his group arrived with a list on which Ms. Jacob was made a vice-chairman. The rebels wanted her to be the new working chairman in place of Oommen Mathew.

However, Mr. Nelloor’s group scuttled the wish of the party men and imposed Mr. Radhakrishnan, they alleged. Even as the fisticuffs among the two factions escalated, Ms. Jacob herself took the mike and tried to pacify the battling party men. She told them that T.M. Jacob would not have liked the party going up in pieces. She also asked them not to fight each other in her name.

Vice-chairmanship was an important post and she wanted all to work towards strengthening the party, she said.

Even as her words calmed down the atmosphere, Mr. Nelloor declared the meeting dissolved. Legislature party leader Anoop Jacob was not present as he had to be in Thiruvananthapuram on account of a special Cabinet meeting in the presence of the Prime Minister.

The meeting commenced at the party office in the town but was soon shifted to the Red Cross Hall at Nagambadom, near the railway station.

More In: Kerala | National