KOTTAYAM: Two high-level meetings of the Kerala Congress (M) held on Sunday failed to reach a consensus over the candidate for Kottayam.A meeting of the party steering committee in the evening, which followed the parliamentary committee meeting in the morning, authorised the party chairman K M Mani to take a final call on the candidature. Mani, who met the media after the steering committee meeting, said he would take a decision after deliberations with leaders at various levels.
“I would collect the opinion from the party state leaders, especially from Kottayam, before taking a decision,” he said. He, however, evaded a question on the logic of discussing further when party working chairman P J Joseph himself voiced his willingness to contest.
Earlier, P J Joseph met K M Mani in person at the latter’s residence in Pala in the morning and expressed his interest in contesting the elections and voiced the same during the Parliamentary committee meeting that followed.
The meeting discussed Joseph’s demand and agreed to recommend the party steering committee to entrust K M Mani to take a decision on the matter. Parliamentary committee also discussed the UDF decision to allocate only one seat to KC (M) and decided to accept the same, taking into account the peculiar political situation. In the steering committee meeting, the party deputy chairman C F Thomas reported the outcome of Parliamentary committee meeting.
Though Joseph presented his wish in the meeting, party organising secretary Joy Abraham said there was no need of a discussion in this regard at this juncture and recommended to hand over the decision to Mani.
Meanwhile, highly placed sources said Mani and party vice chairman Jose K Mani are reluctant to accept Joseph’s demand. Instead, Mani faction leaders Thomas Chazhikkadan, Stephen George and Prince Luckose are in their consideration, with Stephen having highest possibility. The Mani faction reasons, Kottayam being the seat of Mani group, Joseph’s candidature may not be accepted there.
Jose K Mani is learnt to have complained at various levels that Joseph never conveyed his wish to contest the election with the party leadership other than sharing it with the media. Joseph replied he tried to meet Mani for the past three days, but Mani was available on Sunday morning only. With poll dates announced Mani will be forced to take a decision sooner than later.