Pala by-poll: Jose Tom Pulikkunnel is UDF candidate

The Congress-led UDF has announced Jose Tom Pulikkunnel, a leader of the Jose K. Mani faction in the Kerala Congress(M), as its candidate for the September 23 assembly by-election in Pala.

The candidature of Pulikkunnel, former president of Meenachil Grama Panchayath, was announced on Sunday evening by Ramesh Chennithala, Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly.

Earlier, the Jose K. Mani faction nominated Pulikkunnel as the party candidate putting an end to the uncertainty in deciding the party candidate to succeed Kerala Congress (M) supremo and former Finance Minister K.M Mani who had represented constituency for five decades.

The by-poll was necessitated following the demise of Mani on April 9.

The name of Nisha, wife of Jose K. Mani, was actively considered for the seat but the group dropped the plan due to strong opposition by another faction headed by former minister P.J Joseph in the Kerala Congress(M).

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mani C. Kappan is the candidate of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).