Kottayam: The Returning Officer rejected the nomination filed by Jose Tom as Kerala Congress candidate due to the opposition of PJ Joseph. Tom Jose will now compete as an independent candidate. The Returning Officer accepted the arguments raised by Joseph faction that Jose Tom is not a Kerala Congress candidate and those who signed in his nomination were not party office-bearers. Other two nominations filed by Tom Jose as independent candidate were accepted.
Joseph Kandathil, of Joseph faction, who had filed a nomination, withdrew his candidature after ensuring that Jose faction will not be given the party symbol.
Jose Tom may get either pineapple, football or auto rickshaw as his symbol.
It is after 32 years that Kerala Congress is contesting from Pala without their symbol oftwo leaves.
As the fight continues in the party, PJ Joseph has secured a victoryin the first round. The recognition of the Returning fficer will strengthen him for follow-up and that may represent a serious setback for Jose K. Mani.
The scrutiny of the nomination papers also witnessed high drama as in the case of candidate declaration and rebel candidate’s appearance earlier. The Returning Officer took the decision after consulting the Chief Election Commissioner.
A decision on the nomination was taken by 4.50 pm after a scrutiny process which started at 11.15 am.
The high court had blocked the decision to declare Jose K. Mani as party chairman and that helped Joseph faction to secure an upper hand.