Kottayam: After losing the Pala Assembly constituency held by his father for 54 years, Jose K Mani on Friday suffered another setback, when a court here upheld a lower court’s verdict that put a stay on his election as the Chairman of Kerala Congress (Mani).
Ever since the death of veteran K M Mani in April, the party has been divided between Mani’s son Jose and party veteran and senior legislator P.J. Joseph.
Jose was appointed as the new chief of the party in June at a hurriedly called state committee meeting of the party.
This was contested by those aligned with Joseph, who is the Working Chairman of the party.
A few party members aligned with Joseph approached the Thodupuzha Munsiff court against the appointment of Jose as the new chief, which ruled against his election as the new Chairman.
This verdict was contested by Jose, who approached the Kattapana Sub-Court and on Friday his plea for a stay on the lower court verdict was dismissed.
Talking to media persons, Jose said he will appeal against today’s verdict in the higher court.
“What everyone should understand is it’s the Election Commission (EC) which has to say, who are the real Kerala Congress (Mani) and they will give their verdict on who can use the official party symbol of the party. Joseph has also been served a notice by the EC. Let the EC verdict come,” said Jose.
But Joseph said Jose continues to defy, as he refuses to accept anything.
“According to the party constitution, things are very clear as it says, in the absence of the Chairman, it’s the Working Chairman, who gets all the powers of the Chairman. Today’s court verdict clearly states that his (Jose) appointment as Chairman on the party is null and void,” said Joseph.
Following the demise of K.M.Mani, the party has five legislators, of which Mons Joseph and C.F.Thomas are strongly aligned with Joseph, while N. Jayaraj and Roshy Augustine support Jose, who is a Rajya Sabha member.
Jose, suffered one of the worst ever poll reversals, when he saw his handpicked candidate Jose Tom lose the Pala Assembly by-election held last month by a margin of less than 3000 votes.
Incidentally, Pala was represented by Mani for 54 years and the Left broke his bastion when Nationalist Congress Party candidate Mani C. Kappen won the by-election on his fourth attempt, after losing to Mani on three previous occasions.
Jose failed to accept Joseph when it came to candidate selection and chose Jose Tom, much to the displeasure of Joseph and since then the two have been poles apart.