Kottayam: Kerala Congress (M) working chairman P.J. Joseph has said that the party chairman should be elected on the basis of a ‘consensus’ after discussions in the parliamentary party and not through voting in the state committee.
His stand is against the demand raised by the rival group led by Jose K. Mani, which insists that the chairman should be elected through voting in the state committee.
Joseph told this paper that the post should be filled on the basis of a consensus. This has been clearly mentioned in the constitution of the party. "There is no need for convening the state committee as the Rajya Sabha seat was given to Jose K. Mani after discussions in the parliamentary party meeting," Joseph said.
Moreover, according to a court order, the state committee should not be convened till August.
Joseph said that Changanassery MLA C.F. Thomas had extended support to his group and that they have majority in the parliamentary party, with himself, Mons Joseph and Thomas in one group and N. Jayaraj and Roshi Augustine in the other.
Though Jose K. Mani MP and Thomas Chazhikadan MP-elect are invitees, they don't have the right to vote in the parliamentary party.
He said that he had sent a letter to the Election Commission of India on Thursday maintaining that he is the acting chairman after the demise of K.M. Mani and that the future correspondence should be addressed to him.
Joseph said that he had the right to be the chairman. "The Kerala Congress (Joseph) was a separate party with equal strength as that of KC(M) when they merged. K.M. Mani became the chairman because he was more senior and I became the working chairman," Joseph added.
A new formula has been put forwarded with him as chairman, Jose K. Mani as working chairman and C.F. Thomas as parliamentary party leader. Though another formula was evolved earlier with C.F. Thomas as chairman and himself as parliamentary party leader, the other group demanded the working chairman's post and hence the new formula was worked out, Joseph said.
He ruled out a split in the party as the opposite group will come under the purview of anti-defection law. According to it, two-thirds majority in the parliamentary party is needed for breaking away from a party and forming a new one to evade the provisions of the law.