Party to place demand at UDF meeting

The Kerala Congress(Jacob) will make a fresh bid to get a Cabinet berth prior to the by-election to the Piravom Assembly seat, which fell vacant following the death of party leader and Civil Supplies Minister T.M. Jacob, Johnny Nellore, party chairman, said here on Monday.

Briefing presspersons about the decisions taken at a meeting of the Kerala Congress(Jacob) working committee, Mr. Nellore said the party had taken up its demand for the Cabinet berth with senior leaders of the United Democratic Front personally and would place it before a meeting of the front on Wednesday.

To a question, he said the party would go by the decision of the front on its demand.

He said the meeting unanimously accepted the decision of a meeting of the party leaders in Thiruvananthapuram last Thursday to nominate Anoop Jacob, son of T.M. Jacob and president of the party's youth wing, as its candidate in the by-election.

Mr. Nellore said the verdict in the by-election would reflect the people's judgment of the functioning of the State government during the five months it had been in power.

To a question, he said neither merger nor unity with any Kerala Congress faction was on the agenda of the party at present.

“We will work for the unity of the UDF,” Mr. Nellore said and added that the party was now focussed on electioneering at Piravom.

Mr. Nellore did not believe that the conflict between the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church would have an impact on the outcome of the by-election. “The conflict has always been there, and the party has come out victorious in spite of such issues earlier,” he said.

The party would formally start the election work once the mourning for T.M. Jacob ended. Each of the 12 grama panchayats in the Assembly segment had been put under the direct charge of a party State committee member for a coordinated campaign. The party machinery had been readied for mobilising funds for the campaign.

He said the meeting decided to constitute a T.M. Jacob foundation and institute an award to be given to an MLA for exemplary performance in the Assembly.

Land would be found for erecting a statue of T.M. Jacob at Piravom. The party would organise a T.M. Jacob memorial meeting in Kottayam on November 20. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy would inaugurate the meeting.

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