KOTTAYAM: A day after the humiliating defeat of the Kerala Congress (M) in its home turf, Pala, leaders of the Jose K Mani faction and P J Joseph faction of the party were involved in a slugfest, blaming each other for the debacle.
Launching a scathing attack on KC (M) working chairman P J Joseph, Jose K Mani said the statements and arrogance of certain persons were immature. “I have answers for each and every allegation raised by a few people. However, I am not responding at this juncture as the UDF is gearing up for the bypoll in five other Assembly constituencies,’’ he said at Pala on Saturday.
All the matters related to the bypoll, including the selection of candidate, were discussed by the UDF and Kerala Congress, said Jose. “The UDF leaders had said they would resolve the issues related to the party symbol. Hence, we followed the UDF direction. However, our largesse was not reciprocated by the other side,” he added.
As Jose is battling for political survival, his faction is planning to approach the UDF with evidence on the attempts of the rival faction to ensure the defeat of Jose Tom Pulikunnel in Pala. The supporters of Jose K Mani allege that Joseph and other leaders of the faction are trying to take control of the party leadership.
Joseph convened a meeting of Kerala Congress leaders in Kottayam on Saturday in which senior leaders C F Thomas, MLA, Joy Abraham, Thomas Unniyadan and Mons Joseph, MLA, attended. In a Facebook post on Saturday, Jose K Mani responded to the accusations levelled against him by Joseph.
“I had been facing an organised attempt of character assassination and this attack was significantly intense especially while filing the nomination, on the poll day and soon after the declaration of results. The UDF candidate was forced to contest without the party symbol while we all know who benefited the most from the public statements which were made right from the candidate selection till the polling day. I do not regard such statements and obstinacy as political maturity,” he said in the FB post.
The statement, however, drew a sharp reaction from Joseph, who reiterated that Jose was the single person responsible for the poll rout. “It was a self-inflicted defeat due to arrogance. When we said Jose Tom’s winning prospects were less, they replied that they would take care of it. Besides, they also said that they don’t require the party symbol,” Joseph said.