KOTTAYAM: Even as the rival Kerala Congress factions are coming face to face with each other ahead of the Pala by election and the UDF candidate Jose Tom has expressed the confidence that the name of the late patriarch K.M. Mani will ensure his win, the P.J. Joseph faction is claiming a strong presence in the constituency much to the dismay of its detractors.
The Joseph faction claims the support of six councillors, led by vice-chairman Kuriakose Padavan, in Pala municipality and a strong presence in Karur, Bharana-nganam, Meenachil, Mutholy and Ramapuram panchayats. "We cannot disclose nothing more specifically as more people may come in favour of us in the coming days," Kottayam district president of the Joseph faction Saji Manjakadamban told DC.
While the Jose K. Mani faction showed no nervousness on the loss, albeit for the time being, of the two-leaves symbol of the party, the latest flexing of muscle by both sides indicates no signal of peaceful coexistence within the UDF. If the friction refuses to abate, then Joseph faction would work towards ensuring the defeat of Mr Tom so that it can go ahead with its efforts to commandeer the party machinery.
"That Mr Jose K. Mani was not even willing to recognise Mr Joseph as temporary chairman is the beginning of the current issues," said Mr Joy Abraham, former Rajya Sabha MP of the Mani group and now a Joseph loyalist. “I was MLA from Poonjar, and six panjayats which were earlier in that constituency are now with Pala. So do not underestimate our influence. People will also weigh the treatment meted out to Mr Joseph at the UDF convention in their mind.”