The escalating factional war within the Kerala Congress (M) has entered yet another phase with the P.J. Joseph faction, after a brief lull, launching a fight back with a carefully arranged display of belligerence.
With both factions now selecting party chairman on their own, the battle is set to intensify further even as the doors of consensus between the factions now remain shut. In the short term, this will affect the party's prospects in two crucial elections — one in the Kottayam district panchayat that is set to elect a new president and another in the Pala Assembly constituency.
All the eyes are now on the outcome of the case currently pending before the Munsif Court, Thodupuzha, which will be crucial in settling the battle of succession. The hearing on the case, however, is facing inordinate delay with the Munsif Judge pulling out from considering it.
The court had earlier issued a preventive injunction on Jose K. Mani from officiating as the KC(M) chairman, based on a petition filed by the Joseph faction.
According to sources, further proceedings in the case might take place only after the Pala byelection as it might take some time before the petition being assigned to another court.
“This effectively casts a shadow on the party’s prospects in the crucial by-election even as Mr. Joseph has assured full support to the party candidate even from the rival faction. While the legal battle is most likely to prolong with one petition after another, the actual fate of this organization is set to be sealed by the Election Commission of India (ECI),” they pointed out.
Meanwhile, the nomination of C.F. Thomas as the party chairman by a high power meeting convened by the Joseph faction has drawn sharp reactions from the Mani faction. Reacting to the move, party legislator N. Jayaraj, a leader of the Mani faction, said the latest move assumed no significance as the party State committee had already appointed Jose K. Mani as the party chairman.