Kerala

KC(M) factions’ battle for Pala intensifies

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Jose K. Mani suffers setback after SEC allots party symbol to rival faction

Troubles in the Kerala Congress (M) over Pala, its citadel where the regional party recently lost the Assembly byelection, are getting worse.

Soon after Mani C. Kappan, the newly elected legislator of Pala opened his MLA office in the town, the KC(M) faction led by Jose K. Mani also opened its Assembly committee office at an adjacent building. Seeking to match the rival camp move, the KC(M) faction led by its working chairman P.J. Joseph too opened an office in the town here in the same name.

The factions are now slated to organise Assembly committees separately as part of preparing for the local body elections.

The latest move assumes significance considering that the regional party had no separate offices for its legislator as well as for the party unit till the death of K.M. Mani, its founder chairman. Instead, it was the famed Karingozhakkal House of Mr. Mani that had long served as the office of the legislator as well as the party.

Ever since the party split along factional lines, Pala has been the single most important point of confrontation between the two groups. The latest episode of this raging battle is now being played out in the Pala municipality, where Mr. Joseph claims the support of as many as seven councillors led by veteran leader Kuriakose Padavan.

“While both groups are focused on claiming the legacy of K.M. Mani, the Joseph group seems to hold more advantage. By constituting the Mani foundation and even demanding a memorial in his name, they clearly stand a step ahead of the rivals,” said a senior party leader.

Meanwhile, the faction led by Jose K. Mani here on Saturday suffered yet another setback with the State Election Commission (SEC) deciding to allot the party symbol to the rival faction.

In a letter, A. Santosh, secretary, SEC, informed the Returning Officer for the upcoming byelection at Akalakkunnam panchayat to allot the party symbol to the candidate nominated by Mr. Joseph as the party’s chairman in-charge. The SEC intervened on the issue after the dispute over official symbol in the byelection at the Poovathilapp ward at Akalakkunnam could not be resolved at the local level.

While George Myladi, a nominee of the Mani faction, presented the letter of KC(M) district president Sunny Thekkedam (Jose faction) for the symbol, his rival candidate Vipin Thomas had filed his papers along with KC(M) working chairman P.J. Joseph’s letter.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 1:17:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kcm-factions-battle-for-pala-intensifies/article30125066.ece

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