Row in Kerala Cong (M) over Two Leaves symbol

Veteran leader P J Joseph said that the state secretary cannot contest on Two Leaves symbol. (Image courtesy: Wikipedia)

The two warring factions of the Kerala Congress (M) party are now engaged in a tussle for the party symbol, Two Leaves, after settling the dispute over the candidate for the Pala Assembly by-election.

While the faction led by party founder K M Mani's son Jose K Mani, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, decided on Jose Tom Pulikunnel as a candidate, the rival faction led by veteran leader P J Joseph said that the state secretary cannot contest on Two Leaves symbol.

The Pala by-election, which falls under the Kottayam parliamentary seat, is significant as K M Mani had retained the Assembly seat for 54 years until his death on April 9 this year.

Earlier Jose's wife Nisha Jose was considered as a candidate but the move dropped after the Joseph faction’s protest.

A power tussle is going on between Jose K Mani and Joseph after Mani Senior’s death. Joseph in now technically heading the party as working chairman. Even as loyalists of Jose K Mani elected him as chairman, the dispute is on.

Owing to the in-party tussle, Joseph has refused to issue an official letter giving the party symbol to the candidate decided by Jose K Mani. For the Election Commission to allow a party's official symbol to a candidate, the nod of the party's head was required.

Sources said Jose Tom would contest as an independent candidate if he was not approved as a candidate of the party.

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