THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The fight for supremacy in the Kerala Congress (M) between P J Joseph and Jose K Mani factions is turning bitter with Kaduthuruthi MLA Mons Joseph, loyal to the former, writing a letter to Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan on Monday to allocate the front seat in the assembly to the veteran leader.
The point raised by Mons was that Joseph, as the party’s acting chairman after the demise of chairman K M Mani, is entitled to the seat, along with other parties’ leaders. This was immediately countered by Idukki MLA Roshy Augustine, a close associate of Jose K Mani. Roshy shot off a letter to the Speaker mentioning there is no such precedence of allocating the chairman’s seat to the acting chairman and that it can be decided only after the party executive.
The Speaker, however, gave Joseph the front seat, but with a rider that the party has to sort out the issue before June 9 when the assembly will resume after a 10-day break. The indications are clear that Joseph will not relent without giving a fight and testing times are ahead for the Kerala Congress.
A source close to Jose K Mani told Express: “Kerala Congress (M) is a political party nourished and nurtured by Mani. Joseph can’t claim its legacy one fine morning and become its chairman.”
Joseph conveys his message to rival faction
“Kerala Congress (M) has five MLAs after the demise of Mani and of this N Jayaraj, Roshy and C F Thomas are strongly with Jose K Mani. Joseph and Mons are on the other side,” said a source.Speaking on the obituary reference to Mani, Joseph said: “I joined the Kerala Congres (M) faction on Mani’s request and I wanted the post of party chairman back then. But Mani Sir told me he was senior to me and wanted to continue as chairman which I accepted.”
With the statement, Joseph has conveyed his message to Jose K Mani that he is the senior most leader in the party and that the chairman’s position belongs to him according to the yardstick adopted by Mani.
With the by-election to the Pala assembly seat set to happen in six months, the Kerala Congress leadership has to quickly sort things out to beat the Left front’s candidate to the seat, which Mani had won on its formation and retained for 54 years.