Kerala

UDF in a quandary over Kerala Congress(M) row

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Both factions hold separate State committee meetings

The escalating factional war within the Kerala Congress(M) has entered yet another delicate phase with the rival groups led by Jose K. Mani and party working chairman P.J. Joseph deciding to go their own way, putting the United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership in a quandary ahead of the local body elections in the State.

With both groups holding separate State committee meetings here on Saturday, the doors of consensus between the factions now appear shut, at least for the time being. While the State committee meeting convened by the Joseph faction commenced the procedures to elect the new party chairman and fill the vacancies at the helm, the meeting by the rival group resolved not to share its seats with the Joseph group in the local body elections.

Armed with a few orders, including that by the State Election Commission in his favour, Mr. Joseph is determined to push ahead with his strategies to firm up his control over the regional entity.

Accordingly, the faction initiated the procedures for election of the new party chairman by appointing Sajan Francis as returning officer. The election to the posts, according to Joseph group leaders, will be based on consensus. Meanwhile, the existing office-bearers, appointed last year, can continue till 2021.

They also hinted at the possibility of Mr. Joseph seeking to initiate disciplinary action against Jose K. Mani for organising a parallel party meeting. “Mr. Mani is repeating his mistakes by convening unauthorised meetings for the second time. Let him release the photographs of the people who attended the meeting. A large majority of them are not actual members of the KC(M) State committee,” Mr. Joseph said in Thodupuzha.

Mr. Mani, on the other hand, is resolved not to wilt under pressure and decided to field his own candidates in all the seats to be allocated to the KC(M) in the next local body elections. “Our candidates will contest in the upcoming election in respect to the seat-sharing pattern adopted in the previous local body election. We are determined not to give back any of our seats which we had received following the merger of the Kerala Congress factions in 2010,” Mr. Mani said.

Claiming transparency in all organisational activities of his faction, he pointed out that the State committee meeting had been convened based on a list endorsed by the State returning officer.

Mr. Mani, however, agreed for a compromise with regard to the Changanassery municipality in the face of sustained pressure from the UDF. In adherence to a power-sharing act, Lalichan Kunnipparambil, a Mani group leader, will step down as chairman of the municipality on December 31, he said. Sajan Francis, a Joseph group leader, is slated to hold the post for the remaining term of less than eight months.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 2:37:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/udf-in-a-quandary-over-kerala-congressm-row/article30308708.ece

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