THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The firm directive issued by the state Congress leadership led to the UDF candidate’s announcement for the Pala byelection. While Jose K Mani and his faction were insisting on the candidature of Nisha Jose K Mani as their candidate, P J Joseph faction opposed the move and forced her out of contention.
This led to a heated debate with Jose coming out with the statement that he may even consider contesting the election without the party symbol. Joseph had earlier told reporters that party symbol will be given only to the candidate with the highest winnability and that Nisha does not stand a chance.
With Joseph and Jose K Mani fighting with each other, Congress had to intervene with KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy going into a huddle and they called up both the warring leaders. Sources told Express that the Congress leaders made it clear to them that the candidature had to be declared on Sunday itself and that the Kerala Congress had to finalise the name.
“Joseph was adamant Nisha could never be the candidate and some other name should be proposed. This led to heated exchange and Congress had to intervene. Joseph was willing to settle for any candidate other than Nisha and Jose Tom Pulicknunnel is the state general secretary of the party and has been with it for the past four decades”, a senior Congress leader told Express.