With differences cropping up in the Kerala Congress(M), a key partner of the UDF, over its candidate for the Kottayam Lok Sabha seat, Opposition Congress, heading the front, Wednesday said it was hopeful of sorting out the issue amicably. A sulking P J Joseph, KC(M) working chairman, who is peeved over the party's decision to field Thomas Chazhikadan and turning down his claim to contest from the Kottayam seat, had met Congress leaders Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen chandy
earlier in the day, seeking their intervention to sort of the issue. Soon after the meeting, Congress leaders-- Opposition leader in the state assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, former chief minister and AICC Secretary, Oommen Chandy, and KPCC President, Mullapally Ramachandran, went into a huddle to find ways to iron out the differences in the KC-M.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Chennithala said the UDF will sort out the issue amicably. "We will talk with other UDF partners also to find a solution," he said.
Chennithala said they would also discuss with KC(M) Chairman, K M Mani and his son and Rajya sabha MP, Jose K Mani. "Our aim is to get maximum number of seats in the Lok Sabha polls, and the current scenario is favourable for the front," he said.
On the differences in KC(M), he said that "party has taken a decision... there have been differences of opinion". KC(M) Vice Chairman Jose K Mani said the party has decided to field ex-MLA Thomas Chazhikadan as the UDF candidate after consultations with all sections in the party.
The Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has allocated the lone seat of Kottayam to KC(M), turning down the party's demand for two seats. Earlier, speaking to reporters here, Joseph said he had met the UDF leaders and discussed the issue.
The leadership would collectively discuss the matter and find a solution, he said. Kerala Congress (M) Chairman K M Mani fielded his loyalist and former MLA Thomas Chazhikadan from the Kottayam parliamentary constituency despite Joseph publicly expressing his desire to try his luck from the prestigious seat.
Rejecting the allegations that the candidature of Chazhikadan was announced in a unilateral manner, Mani said, "Candidature of Chazhikadan was decided in a democratic manner.
All due procedures were carried out before deciding his candidature. Everything has been documented. The candidate has started election campaign." A powerful faction led by Joseph, who represents Thodupuzha in the Kerala assembly, had opposed Mani's decision to field Chazhikadan from the seat, saying it was taken undermining the general sentiments of the Kerala Congress (M)
workers. Two Joseph loyalists have quit their part posts alleging that Mani fielded "a weak candidate" to ensure the victory of CPI(M) candidate from Kottayam, V N Vasavan.
The seat was lying vacant since Jose K Mani, who had won from the constituency in 2014, resigned in June last year after he was nominated to the Upper house of Parliament. Former Union minister, P C Thomas, leader of another faction of the Kerala Congress, which is part of NDA, is likely to be the BJP candidate from Kottayam.