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KC(M) undecided over George’s role

Special Correspondent
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The Kerala Congress (M)’s attempts on Wednesday to sort out differences in the party over Government Chief Whip P.C. George’s continuation in office reached nowhere as the party leaders could not decide on the action to be taken against the acerbic leader.

The Kerala Congress (M) chairman and Finance Minister K. M. Mani, Water Resources Minister P. J. Joseph and former chairman C. F. Thomas met here late this evening to work out an amicable formula to settle the issue. The Joseph faction continued to be adamant about Mr. George’s ouster as Government Chief Whip.

He became the target of the Joseph faction following his statement that the party did not want to contest in an additional seat for the Lok Sabha. The row also found Mr. George and Mr. Francis George, former Member of Parliament and an ardent supporter of Joseph, indulging in verbal sparring.

The party leadership’s two earlier attempts to settle the issue too did not reach anywhere because the committees that discussed the matter proved to be too unwieldy for a resolution. It was then decided to entrust the task to the three-member panel. Mr. Mani appeared to be in no mean hurry to concede the demand of the Joseph faction, though he has not given up attempts to sort out issues through dialogue. Sources close to Mr. Mani said he was inclined to put the matter on the backburner till elections are over. Mr. Joseph was firm about action against Mr. George.

It is also possible that Mr. Mani would not mind waiting till the CPI (M) plenum is over to get a better picture of the political situation before deciding on the action against Mr. George.

Interestingly, Mr. Mani is scheduled to attend a seminar being held as part of the CPI (M) plenum. There does not seem to be any political undertone to his appearance on a CPI (M) platform at a time when there is considerable speculation about his plans. But he happens to be the only person from the ruling coalition to figure in a seminar and this fact is not fully lost on the Congress leadership.

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