KOTTAYAM: Suspense over the selection of the UDF candidate for the upcoming Pala bypoll ended in a surprise on Sunday with the Kerala Congress naming senior leader Jose Tom Pulikkunnel as its nominee.
The name of Tom, a close confidant of Jose K Mani, was proposed by the Kerala Congress election sub-committee headed by Thomas Chazhikadan, MP. The official announcement followed a meeting attended by UDF leaders. The announcement ended the speculation about Mani faction nominating Nisha Jose K Mani as its candidate.
Sources said P J Joseph’s tough stand to not allow party symbol (two leaves) to Nisha prompted the Jose K Mani faction to zero in on Tom. The secret plan to field ex-Youth Front leader and Joseph faction’s district president Saji Manjakadambil too prompted Jose K Mani to act fast.
P J Joseph responded that he would approve Tom as the UDF candidate, but a decision on whether to allow the party symbol or not would be taken only later.Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the UDF was confident of retaining the seat and would fight the election as a single unit.Jose K Mani had sent clear indication to end the crisis and announce the candidate’s name by Sunday evening. Joseph, on the other hand, reiterated his stance that the party symbol would be issued only to a candidate accepted by all. Though Jose faction was ready to field its candidate even without the symbol, Joseph’s stand forced a rethink.