KOTTAYAM: Toughening his stance against the Jose K Mani faction, Kerala Congress (M) Working Chairman P J Joseph on Tuesday said he will not sign on the nomination papers of Jose Tom Pulikunnel as he has been suspended from the party.
“UDF has fielded an independent candidate in Pala and hence, there was no need for me to sign the nomination papers or allot the party symbol to him,” said Joseph. However, he will take part in the UDF campaigns as the UDF convener had invited him.
With Joseph coming out with his stand, the UDF leadership has kick-started another round of consultations to pacify the KC (M) leader.
Earlier, KC(M) leader Stephen George approached the Election Commission seeking party symbol for Pulikunnel. Party leaders said that since Pulikunnel was made a candidate following the decision taken by the steering committee of the party, he should be recognised as the party’s official candidate.
Pulikunnel is expected to file two sets of nomination papers - one as Kerala Congress candidate and the other as an independent - on Wednesday. Party sources said that if the UDF leadership’s intervention fails to create consensus, the Jose K Mani faction might have to fight the election on its own.
The LDF, which is aiming to wrest the seat from the Kerala Congress, has launched an electrifying campaign and hopes to reap rich dividends from the KC(M) infighting.
UDF commenced its election conventions on Tuesday, while NDA’s N Hari will file his nomination papers on Wednesday.
Party symbol: Returning Officer to take the call
T’Puram: The Pala Deputy Collector, who’s the Returning Officer for the by-election, can take a final call on allowing election symbol to the UDF candidate. Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena told Express that the Returning Officer can take the decision as per the available documents. “So far there’s no clarity on the matter. They have not given any communication about sanctioning the party symbol to any candidate. Now the Returning Officer, using his discretionary powers, will take a decision. He will check whether the person who has raised a claim for the symbol is the party’s authorised office-bearer. Based on that he can take a decision after looking into legal and other aspects,” said Meena.