In a dramatic move, the Congress has initiated efforts to field Kerala Congress leader P J Joseph as a common independent candidate backed by the UDF in the Idukki Lok Sabha seat. The Congress hopes to solve the issues persisting in the Kerala Congress by granting Idukki to Joseph. The matter will be discussed by Congress leaders with IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty at Kozhikode.
The main demand of the Joseph faction to the Congress was to give due consideration for its leader. With K M Mani refusing to withdraw the candidate he had announced for the Kottayam seat, the Congress is forced to heed to the demand of Joseph, who had played a major part in bringing the Kerala Congress (M) back to the UDF. The offer of Idukki is expected to satisfy Joseph, but a decision will be taken only after learning the IUML’s stand on the issue.
It is felt that the Mani faction would not oppose Joseph contesting from Idukki. Roshy Augustine MLA commented that the candidate announced by the Kerala Congress would stay and that the problem could be easily solved by offering a seat to Joseph.
At present, the Congress is facing an uphill task in Idukki. Unless former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy contests, a victory in the seat may be a dream for the party. However, in case Joseph is the UDF candidate, the task will be easy, feels the Congress. Moreover, with the issues in the Kerala Congress settled, the UDF could win Kottayam too, say Congress leaders.