Nisha Jose likely pick of Jose K Mani faction for Pala bypoll

Jose K Mani
Jose K Mani with wife

Thiruvananthapuram: The Jose K Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) has narrowed down their choice of candidate for the Pala by-elections to Nisha Jose.

Nisha is the wife of Jose K Mani.

Though Nisha's name is likely to be proposed to the United Democratic Front (UDF), the candidate will be finalised only after a meeting scheduled on Thursday in Kottayam.

The UDF on Monday discussed the name of candidate for the Pala Assembly bypoll, to be held on September 23, amid growing bickering in the Kerala Congress (Mani), the third largest constituent of the political front led by Congress.

The Pala assembly seat had fallen vacant following the demise of Kerala Congress (M) leader KM Mani, the father of Jose K Mani.

Mani faction asserted its claim over the Pala seat represented for over half a century by K M Mani.

The Jose faction, meanwhile, decided to pay no heed to the objections raised by the PJ Joseph-led camp against their candidate.

The Joseph camp may not propose its candidate for the by-election.

The UDF should decide the candidate for the Pala by-elections, the Joseph group demanded.

According to reports, Joseph is eyeing the party chairman's post in lieu of allowing Mani junior to choose candidate for the by-election.

Jose's brother-in-law is another front-runner for nomination as the bypoll candidate.

The Pala seat, since its creation in 1965, had been represented by the Mani until his death in April this year. Soon after his death, the party split into two factions -- one led by his son and Rajya Sabha member Jose K. Mani and the other by veteran leader Joseph.

UDF hopeful

The UDF meeting tried to ensure that both the camps didn't wash dirty linen in the public.

After the meeting, UDF chairman and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said things were going in the right direction. "It's nothing, but a technical issue. It will be sorted out soon," said Chennithala.

The UDF leadership, comprising former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Chennithala and Indian Union Muslim League chief P.K. Kunhalikutty, is confident of resolving the differences between the two factions.

The UDF leadership has allowed both the factions three days to sort the differences out. If they fail then the UDF leadership will step in.

Rival candidates

Kerala BJP chief P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said the NDA candidate would be announced on Friday. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) may repeat Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) veteran Mani C. Kappen. The announcement is likely in a day or two.

In 2016, Kappen had lost the election to Mani by 4,703 votes.

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