: Intensive infighting has erupted in Kerala Congress (M) over party chairman K M Mani's decision to field his loyalist and former MLA Thomas Chazhikadan from Kottayam parliamentary constituency, turning down senior leader P J Joseph's wish to contest from the lone seat allotted for the party by the Congress-led UDF.
A powerful faction led by KC(M) working chairman and former minister Joseph, who represents Thodupuzha in Kerala assembly, opposed Mani's decision to field Chazhikadan from the seat, saying it was taken undermining the general sentiments of the Kerala Congress (M) workers.
"We all are pained by this decision," Mons Joseph MLA, a loyalist of Joseph, said here Tuesday.
Loyalists of Joseph including party state committee member P M George and Kannur district general secretary Rojas Sebastian quit their posts, alleging that Mani fielded "a weak candidate to ensure the victory of CPI(M) candidate from Kottayam.
"I have nothing more to say," Jose K Mani, who is also son of K M Mani, said.
The Congress fears that the group war erupted in the KC(M) after the announcement of Chazhikadan's candidature would affect the electoral prospects of UDF in some Lok Sabha seats, including Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta.
UDF convenor Benny Behanan urged the KC(M) leaders to resolve the crisis in their party.
Behanan, a senior Congress leader, said the Congress would intervene if the KC(M) leadership failed to resolve the crisis in the party threatening the chances of the UDF in the elections.
A series of meetings of the KC (M) leaders were held here Monday to decide the party's candidate but failed to reach a consensus over Joseph's candidature as Mani and his son Jose K Mani wanted to keep the seat within their fold.
Soon after the announcement of Chazhikadan's candidate Monday night, Joseph had expressed his dissatisfaction, saying injustice has been done to him.
Joseph, however, said he stands by the UDF.
"I am bound to protect the interest of the front," Joseph had told reporters in Thodupuzha.
He said he would take further steps after discussing with UDF leaders, especially Congress leaders, once they are back from New Delhi.
Jose K Mani had won the Kottayam seat in the Lok Sabha polls held in 2014.
The seat has been lying vacant since resignation of Mani from the seat in June last year after the UDF nominated him to the Rajya Sabha.
The CPI (M) has fielded its district secretary V N Vasavan in Kottayam.
The BJP has agreed to give the seat to another Kerala Congress, an NDA constituent, led by former union minister P C Thomas.
Thomas is likely to be fielded as NDA candidate from the seat.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)