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Kerala Congress (M) unlikely to split; Joseph to meet UDF leaders today 

It is learnt Joseph has already communicated to his close aides, including Mons Joseph MLA, indicating not moving into a split.

Published: 13th March 2019 04:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2019 04:34 AM   |  A+A-

KC(M) working chairman P J Joseph heading to Thiruvananthapuram from his residence at Purappuzha in Thodupuzha on Tuesday evening

KC(M) working chairman P J Joseph heading to Thiruvananthapuram from his residence at Purappuzha in Thodupuzha on Tuesday evening | Shiyami

Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: While the dramatic turn out of events in the Kerala Congress (M) over the selection of its candidate for Kottayam Lok Sabha Constituency has put the United Democratic Front (UDF) in a defensive mode, all eyes are on P J Joseph as his response would be crucial for the UDF in Central Travancore. Joseph, who is keeping his cards close to his chest, is waiting for the opinion from UDF leaders, especially Congress leaders, before arriving at a decision.

Joseph, who interacted with his close aides at his residence in Purappuzha near Thodupuzha on Wednesday, went to Thiruvananthapuram by late evening to meet Congress leaders, including Oommen Chandy, who will be back in the capital on Wednesday morning after AICC meetings in Delhi and Ahmedabad. The beleaguered Joseph is likely to declare his stance after the meeting. Meanwhile, Joseph stayed away from making any comments on Tuesday.

Though KC (M) chairman K M Mani turned down his request to contest from Kottayam in an unfair manner, Joseph is unlikely to initiate a split in the party at least for the time being, said sources close to Joseph. The reasons: The UDF can’t afford a split in KC (M) during the run-up to the Parliament election. Secondly, Joseph categorically said on Monday night he wanted stand by the UDF. If he comes out of KC (M), it won’t be easy to provide accommodation for him in the UDF in a short notice, adhering to coalition dharma.

It is learnt Joseph has already communicated to his close aides, including Mons Joseph MLA, indicating not moving into a split. This might be the reason Mons and T U Kuruvila, two senior leaders of Joseph faction, appeared sober in their responses to the media on the denial of seat to Joseph. “A general sentiment in the party was to give Kottayam seat to P J Joseph.

The denial of seat to Joseph has worried and pained all those who wanted to lead the party united. Joseph is a leader, who took a stern decision to stand by the UDF and hence the party decision has disappointed the entire UDF followers,” Mons said. At the same time, UDF leaders, including Kunhalikkutty and Oommen Chandy, contacted Joseph over phone and assured their support. Former president of Idukki DCC Roy K Paulose visited Joseph at his residence and held a closed-door discussion with him at noon. 

While the UDF leadership has some limitations in intervening in the candidate selection process in any of its constituent parties, it may come up with a package for Joseph to save his face, which is likely to be communicated to him in Wednesday’s meeting. At the same time, Joseph may also wait for a while before jumping into any decision, taking into account the peculiar political situation prevailing in the Kerala Congress (M).

Joseph meets Pala Bishop

P J Joseph met Pala bishop Joseph Kallarangatt at the Bishop’s House at Pala en route to Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday



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