THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Congress (M) faction led by working chairman P. J. Joseph has received a shot in the arm with the Thodupuzha munsiff court staying the appointment of Jose K. Mani as party chairman. Though Joseph said that the party has split, the Mani faction decided not to sit separately in the ongoing Assembly session. Roshy Augustine MLA said Joseph will be the party leader in the House.
Joseph has succeeded in luring more leaders to his side from the rival faction. He was huddled with his group leaders on Monday morning and they decided to wait for a call from the Election Commission with Jose K. Mani faction sending a letter to the commission informing it of the appointment of the new chairman. But the munsiff court has also barred Jose K. Mani from sending any letter to the Election Commission.
"It was a crowd which elected Jose K. Mani as the chairman. Only the state committee can choose the new chairman. The munsiff court has stayed his appointment and he cannot function as chairman or hold party meetings," said Joseph.
Joseph has the support of organisational general secretary Joy Abraham, parliamentary party secretary Mons Joseph, former whip Thomas Unniyadan and Arakkal Balakrishna Pillai. The faction has three MLAs-- Joseph himself, C. F. Thomas and Mons Joseph. Victor T. Thomas has also sided with Joseph while general secretary Joseph M. Puthussery has sided with Jose K. Mani as both have been eyeing the Thiruvalla Assembly seat. Several Youth Front leaders have also joined Joseph. A Left leader has reportedly held secret talks with Jose K. Mani urging him to join the LDF. But a cross section of KC (M) leaders will not support such a plan. The Congress leadership urged both factions to show restraint.