The infighting in the Congress party in Thrikkakara over sharing of the municipal chairman’s post has taken a turn for the worse with allegations of bribery against the serving chairman surfacing.

A fresh spell of intra-party rivalry broke out after a television channel flashed a stamp paper dated November 11, 2010.

The document allegedly signed by Sheeba Sanilan, the municipal councillor of division 22, claims that she had taken Rs. 1 lakh from chairman P.I. Mohammadali to vote in his favour in the election held to the municipal chairman’s post.

The controversy comes at a time when Mr. Mohammadali of ‘A’ group has been refusing to hand over the mantle to Shaji Vazhakkala of ‘I’ faction despite direction by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and the District Congress Committee (DCC). A meeting convened by the KPCC a few days back had also failed to resolve the stalemate as Mr. Mohammadali and 19 councillors supporting him walked out of it.

Mr. Mohammadali alleged that the document was forged by the ‘I’ group in their desperate attempt to dislodge him. He said the allegation of bribery against him would hold no water in a council in which the UDF had majority.

“There was a whip by the DCC president to vote for the party candidate in the chairman’s election and violating it would have attracted automatic disqualification. In such a scenario what’s the need for me to bribe a councillor? Besides, who in his right mind will give an undertaking to have taken a bribe?” said Mr. Mohammadali. He said he would file a defamation case in connection with the issue.

Ms. Sanilan reiterated her support to the chairman while accusing the rival faction of forging the document and her signature to get the chairman’s post. She is also planning to file a defamation case.

Meanwhile Mr. Vazhakkala said he was not party to the controversy in any way as the document did not mention his name.

“There is no need for me to resort to forgery or blackmailing. The chairman cannot evade responsibility by blaming me,” he said.

He said Mr. Mohammadali had been targeting him ever since he had staked claim to the chairman’s post leading to an intra-party election to decide the party nominee for the chairman’s election. Mr. Mohammadali was expecting to win it hands down but won with a majority of just one vote, he said.

DCC president V.J. Paulose said an inquiry would be held to look into the allegation.

A document allegedly signed by councillor Sheeba Sanilan claims she had taken Rs.1 lakh from municipal chairman P.I. Mohammadali to vote in his favour.

More In: KERALA | NATIONAL