‘KC(M) should have announced candidate in advance'

A meeting of Congress leaders at Thiruvalla recently to review the Assembly poll outcome has blamed Kerala Congress(M) leader K.M. Mani for the defeat of the United Democratic Front candidate in Thiruvalla.

The meeting, chaired by Satheesh Kochuparambil, District Congress Committee vice-president, maintained that it was Mr. Mani who had given hope to both KC(M) district chairman Victor T. Thomas and State general secretary Joseph M. Puthuserry, who was the MLA of the now-defunct Kallooppara constituency, for contesting from Thiruvalla.

The meeting observed that Mr. Mani's intention to grab the Ranni seat from the Congress, in addition to its sitting seat of Thiruvalla, to accommodate Mr. Thomas and Mr. Puthussery had sent wrong signals to the Congress camp in the district. However, the KC(M) had to be content with the Thiruvalla seat as delimitation had reduced the total number of seats in the district from seven to five.

Many Congress leaders were of the opinion that the KC(M) leadership should have announced the party candidate for Thiruvalla in advance, leaving no scope for rebellion or discontent among party workers.

‘Heavy price'

The meeting observed that denial of the ticket to Mr. Puthussery had invited protests from the Malankara Orthodox Church, of which he is a member. Certain bishops personally campaigned for the defeat of the UDF candidate in Thiruvalla that ultimately cost the UDF three seats in the district, the Congress leaders opined.

There were reports that the KC(M) leader had given assurance to the Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Church and a few other bishops that Mr. Puthussery would be fielded from Thiruvalla. Mr. Mani's recent visit to Parumala to meet the Metropolitans was considered a trouble-shooting exercise, the Congress leaders said.

The KC(M) leader's decision had led to deep divisions in the party, affecting the poll campaign of the UDF candidate in Thiruvalla.

The meeting maintained that the KC(M) district unit was trying in vain to put the blame on the UDF Assembly mandalam committee for Mr. Thomas's defeat in Thiruvalla to cover up the flaws of Mr. Mani in keeping the party camp united during the poll campaign.

  • ‘Mani's intention to grab Ranni seat from Congress sent wrong signals'

  • ‘Orthodox Church upset by denial of the ticket to Joseph M. Puthussery'