Mounting a direct attack on its most formidable rivals, the Kerala Congress (M) led by Jose K. Mani will soon approach the Speaker seeking disqualification of P.J. Joseph and Mons Joseph, MLAs, for violating the party whip.
A decision to this effect was made during a meeting of the party steering committee held here on Sunday. Announcing the decision, Mr. Mani said disqualification on the ground of defection would be sought against those legislators who violated the party whip issued by Roshy Augstine to abstain from the Rajya Sabha election and no-confidence motion on August 24.
“As per the Rule 3 (6) of the Anti-Defection Law, political parties get 15 days time for condoning the whip violation. However, the steering committee decided not to condone the violation and move ahead with the disqualification proceedings,” he said.
Accordingly, the Mr. Augustine will be moving a petition to the Speaker in this regard.
Despite strong rumours about the KC(M) is inching closer to the LDF camp, Mr. Mani remained tight-lipped on the party’s political stance but stated that it would come out with a decision sooner than later.
“Having maintained an independent position following the UDF decision to keep the faction off all meetings, we had been waiting all this while for the order of the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the party symbol. Now that the authority has ordered in favour of us, the party steering committee has decided to take a decision on aligning with any coalition before the local body polls,” he said, adding that the committee had already entrusted him to take an appropriate decision at the earliest.
Regarding the Kuttanad byelection, Mr. Mani said the KC(M) was awaiting a formal notification from the ECI before announcing its decision. He also sought to know the symbol and address of the candidate to be fielded by Mr. Joseph in the seat.
“The Joseph group, which handed us a defeat in Pala by denying the party symbol, is contesting in Kuttanad without the `two leaves’. Things have come full circle,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Joseph told mediapersons that the party symbol would not be an issue for contesting the election. “K.M. Mani had contested the elections under various symbols in the past. I also did the same. The support of the masses is what matters,” he said.