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Infighting breaks out in Kerala Congress (M)

Press Trust of India  |  Kottayam (Ker) 

: Intensive infighting has erupted in (M) over party K M Mani's decision to field his loyalist and former MLA Thomas from parliamentary constituency, turning down senior 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 and former Joseph, who represents Thodupuzha in assembly, opposed Mani's decision to field from the seat, saying it was taken undermining the general sentiments of the (M) workers.

had publicly expressed his desire to contest the elections as the UDF candidate from

"We all are pained by this decision," Mons MLA, a loyalist of Joseph, said here Tuesday.

Supporters of have started resigning from the party posts in protest against the denial of ticket for their

Loyalists of Joseph including party state committee member P M George and district general quit their posts, alleging that Mani fielded "a weak candidate to ensure the victory of CPI(M) candidate from

Party vice-Jose K Mani, however, said chairman K M Mani announced the candidature of after consulting with all party leaders and office-bearers.

"I have nothing more to say," Jose K Mani, who is also son of K M Mani, said.

The 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 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.

UDF leaders, including and P K Kunjalikkutty, expressed confidence that leaders of the (M) are capable of resolving their inner party crisis.

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 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

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 V N Vasavan in Kottayam.

The BJP has agreed to give the seat to another Kerala Congress, an NDA constituent, led by former union 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.)

First Published: Tue, March 12 2019. 14:30 IST