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P J Joseph faction not to join UDF campaign for Pala bypolls


Kottayam: The P J Joseph faction in the Kerala Congress (M) on Saturday accused Jose K Mani faction of humiliating its leader and said they would not join UDF leaders in the campaign for the front's candidate Jose Tom Pulikkunnel in the Pala assembly bypolls.

The Joseph faction, however, will carry out a separate parallel campaign for Pulikkunnel's victory, its leaders said here.

The Joseph faction leaders alleged that the rival faction humiliated and used abusive language at their leader when he addressed the UDF election convention at Pala constituency two days ago.

Senior leaders of the Congress-led UDF, including Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, had attended the convention.

"We will not participate in the UDF's election campaign.

We will carry out a separate, parallel election campaign for UDF candidate Pulikunnel," Joseph faction leader Saji Manjakkadamban told reporters in Pala.

"We are hurt by the immature actions of Jose K Mani faction leaders. They humiliated our leader and hurled abusive languages at him", he alleged

Meanwhile, the Election Commission Saturday granted the pineapple symbol for Pulikkunnel.

Earlier, the Returning Officer (RO) had rejected the nomination of KC(M) leader Pulikkunnel, who sought to contest the September 23 Pala by-poll under the party symbol "two leaves", following the opposition by Joseph faction leaders.

The RO had rejected Pulikkunnel's nomination to contest as party candidate after taking into consideration an Idukki Munsif Court order, preventing Jose K Mani from taking charge as the chairman of the regional party.

The Joseph faction had also submitted a letter to the Election Commission, requesting it not to allot Pulikkunnel the prestigious "two leaves" symbol.

The by-poll has been necessitated following the demise of KC(M) founder leader and former finance minister K M Mani on April 9.

After the demise of the veteran leader, the KC(M), a key partner in UDF, has been divided over the leadership issue.

While one faction is headed by Jose K Mani, son of K M Mani, other group is led by former minister P J Joseph.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Mani C Kappan is the candidate of the ruling Left Democratic Front for the bypoll.

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