KOTTAYAM: In an apparent bid to pile on the agony of Jose K Mani and his supporters, who are smarting from the Kerala Congress(M)’s shock defeat in the Pala bypoll, as well as wrest control of the party’s organisational apparatus, the rival P J Joseph faction has attributed the poll reverse to the erosion in Congress votes.
According to the Joseph loyalists, it is the shocking arrogance of Jose K Mani and provocative comments from Jose Tom Pulikunnel, the losing KC(M) candidate, which resulted in the Congress voters’ desertion en masse.
And they highlight the slide in votes for Jose Tom in panchayats like Ramapuram where the Congress has considerable influence.
The leaders are also betting big on the Idukki munsiff court -- which is scheduled to decide on Joseph’s petition challenging Jose K Mani’s election as party chairman on October 14 -- ruling in the former’s favour.
“The Jose faction leaders are now gravitating towards Joseph and in the coming days more leaders and workers will follow suit,” said a Joseph faction leader.
Further, to disprove Jose K Mani faction’s claim that it is P J Joseph who played spoilsport in the bypoll, Joseph loyalists are planning to approach the UDF brass demanding an inquiry into the reasons for the decline in vote share which is being blamed on Jose K Mani’s haughtiness.
In Ramapuram, out of the 22 booths, LDF candidate Mani C Kappan led in 14 booths while Jose Tom managed to secure a lead in just four booths, with the BJP-NDA finishing on top in one. Back in 2016, K M Mani had led in 10 booths in the panchayat.
“Soon after the defeat, Jose K Mani faction began targeting P J Joseph alleging that he ensured the UDF candidate’s defeat. Jose K Mani’s arrogance and Jose Tom’s provocative statements had led to the poll debacle rather than infighting in the party. If Joseph is to blame, how come there is a decline in the UDF votes in traditional Congress strongholds. We will approach the Congress leaders demanding an inquiry,” said Mons Joseph, MLA.