Infighting breaks out in Kerala Congress (M)

Intensive infighting has erupted in Kerala Congress(M) over party chairman K.M Mani's decision to field his loyalist and former MLA Thomas Chazhikadan from Kottayam parliamentary constituency, turning down senior leader P.J Joseph's wish to contest from the lone seat allotted for the party by the Congress-led UDF.

A powerful faction led by KC(M) working chairman and former minister Joseph, who represents Thodupuzha in Kerala assembly, opposed Mani's decision to field Thomas from the seat, saying it was taken undermining the general sentiments of the Kerala Congress (M) workers.

Joseph had publicly expressed his desire to contest the elections as the UDF candidate from Kottayam.

"We all are pained by this decision," Mons Joseph MLA, a loyalist of Joseph, said on Tuesday.

Supporters of Joseph have started resigning from the party posts in protest against the denial of ticket for their leader.

Loyalists of Joseph including party state committee member P.M George and Kannur district general secretary Rojas Sebastian quit their posts, alleging that Mani fielded a weak candidate to ensure the victory of CPI(M) candidate from Kottayam.

Party vice-chairman Jose K. Mani, however, said chairman K.M Mani announced the candidature of Thomas after consulting with all party leaders and office-bearers.

(Agencies)