Bolstered by the Central Election Commission’s order settling the factional dispute in his favour, Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K. Mani has now let the sword of disqualification dangle over the rival faction.
Addressing media persons here on Tuesday, Mr. Mani said the doors of the Kerala Congress (M) had been kept open for all those who were on the other side. Through its order, the CEC has not just allotted the party symbol, but also recognised the party leadership.
“There are many who mistook us and switched sides but we have no complaints whatsoever. But people who have won the election under the party symbol should be with the KC(M) family. Should they choose to stay out, steps will be initiated to disqualify them,” he said.
In an apparent reference to rival leader P.J. Joseph, MLA, and his deputy Mons Joseph, MLA, Mr. Mani reiterated stern action against all those who had violated the party whip to stay away from the Rajya Sabha election last week. Incidentally, veteran leader C.F. Thomas, MLA, who owe allegiance to the Joseph faction, had abstained from the election proceedings due to health reasons.
Coalition before polls
Regarding the party’s stance in the upcoming civic body election, Mr. Mani asserted that the KC(M) would be part of a political coalition prior to the election.
“For the time being, we are maintaining equal distance from all the three fronts. The current focus is to reorganise the party and strengthen its base at the grassroots level,” Mr.Mani added.
The United Democratic Front, which was slated to hold a meeting on Thursday to finalise the action against the Mani group, too has been caught off guard by the CEC order. The coalition had taken a strong exception to the Mani group’s decision to abstain from the Rajya Sabha election and no-confidence motion.