KOTTAYAM: While crisis deepens in UDF over the change of guard at Kottayam district panchayat, the PJ Joseph faction of Kerala Congress (M) has decided to put on hold its plan to move a no-confidence motion against the incumbent panchayat president for two days. Sources privy to the Joseph camp said a decision to this effect was taken in view of the request made by AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy.
Earlier, Jose K Mani had sought until Wednesday evening from the Congress leadership to take a final decision on the Kottayam panchayat president post. The leadership passed the request to Joseph, who, in turn, deferred the move to float a no-trust motion in the panchayat council on Tuesday.
“We will wait till Wednesday night. However, we will go ahead with the move if the incumbent president, a nominee of Jose faction, does not step down by then,” said a Joseph faction leader.The Joseph camp is hopeful that Congress will support its no-confidence motion. The latter’s support is essential as the Joseph faction has just two members in the 22-member council. “The important factor is that Congress has a commitment to implement an agreement made under the initiative of its leadership. This is also an issue of its credibility,” said the leader.
Compromise talks initiated under the aegis of RSP(B) leader Shibu Baby John on Sunday night had failed to yield a result. Dismissing Joseph faction’s demand for a change of guard, Jose had maintained his nominee Sebastian Kulathungal would not resign as the panchayat president. Jose had said they should wait for the decision of Election Commission of India (ECI) on dispute over the party chairman post. He had also said a change of guard in the time of Covid-19 outbreak would create difficulties for public and assured that his group was ready to give a written statement that the Joseph faction will be given the president post in the first term of coming to power after the upcoming local body elections.
Recent phone conversations between IUML MP P K Kunhalikkutty and Jose on the issue had also failed to bear fruit. Meanwhile, the LDF camp is planning to cash in on the disputes in the UDF and woo either one of the factions to its side. If the reconciliation talks fail in the UDF and Congress is forced to support Joseph’s no-confidence motion, the natural choice of Jose faction will be to quit the coalition.
Compromise talks fail
Compromise talks initiated under the aegis of RSP(B) leader Shibu Baby John on Sunday night had failed to yield a result. Dismissing Joseph faction’s demand for a change of guard, Jose had maintained his nominee Sebastian Kulathungal would not resign as the panchayat president.