On a day when the simmering discontent within the Kerala Congress (M) came to the open, the Congress has stepped in to broker peace between the feuding factions.
Rumblings over the denial of seat to the party’s working chairman P.J. Joseph were felt in the morning itself when two Joseph faction leaders Rojes Sebastian and P.M. George announced their resignations from their party positions. Both Mr. Sebastian and Mr. George were the district unit secretaries of KC(M) in Kannur and Kozhikode respectively.
This was followed by Kaduthuruthy MLA Mons Joseph and senior leaders T.U. Kuruvila and V.C. Chandi publicly expressing their dismay over the ‘injustice’ meted out to the leader. While the Kaduthuruthy MLA requested an intervention by the United Democratic Front (UDF) to reverse the decision, Mr. Chandi was more openly critical of party chairman K.M. Mani and his son Jose K. Mani for ‘sidelining’ other leaders.
Mr. Joseph, at the same time, maintained a studied silence throughout the day albeit after voicing his resentment over the shock rejection.
As anxiety levels rose sharply over what Mr. Joseph might do next, the Congress has commenced efforts to pacify Mr. Joseph to stop him from splitting the party ahead of a crucial election. As part of it, a team led by KPCC high power committee member Roy Poulose held discussions with Mr. Joseph at his residence.
Sources said Mr. Joseph would soon hold discussions with the Congress leaders, including Oommen Chandy, on their arrival from New Delhi. The meeting assumes significance amidst speculation of Mr. Joseph apprising the Congress of his willingness to contest from the Idukki seat.
Amidst all the confusion, the Mani group leaders remain seemingly unfazed. Their stance was underlined by a statement by Jose K. Mani to media persons on Tuesday that there was no need to reverse the decision to field Mr. Chazhikkadan in Kottayam.