'No discussion has taken place regarding Pala seat so far', says Jose K Mani

Jose told reporters that the party will inform its stand when the LDF decides to hold discussions regarding the Pala seat ahead of the Kerala Assembly elections
PJ Joseph and  Jose K Mani
PJ Joseph and Jose K ManiTwitter

Recently elected Kerala Congress (M) chairman Jose K Mani has said that no discussion has taken place so far in the party or the Left Democratic Front (LDF) regarding the Pala seat.

“When discussions will take place in the LDF, the party will inform its stand,” Jose told reporters in Kannur. He added that the Jose faction will not return to the United Democratic Front (UDF). “That chapter is closed,” Jose said.

There has been a lot of talk regarding the Pala seat in the last few days. It started with Kerala Congress leader PJ Joseph offering the Pala seat to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Pala MLA Mani C Kappan ahead of the upcoming elections.

“The NCP is likely to leave the LDF and join the UDF ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Kerala,” Joseph said, adding that he is ready to hand over the seat to Kappan if he contests on a UDF ticket in the assembly elections.

Kappan is the sitting MLA of Pala after winning the seat in the 2019 Bypoll elections. Before Kappan, Jose’s father, KM Mani, held the seat for 50 years before passing away on April 9, 2019. Kappan made it clear that NCP will not leave the LDF for UDF.

“I have never thought of switching to another political front. In a short period, I have managed to bring in development to Pala,” Kappan said, adding that he is not interested in getting Rajya Sabha berth at anyone’s mercy.

He also took a shot at the Jose faction for claiming Pala seat. “The Jose faction lost the Pala seat in the last election. They have no right to claim the seat,” Kappan said.

However, Jose will be eyeing the Pala seat in the upcoming elections after helping the LDF gain crucial seats in UDF’s bastion in the recently concluded local body elections. In October 2020, the KC (M) left the UDF for the LDF. In a press conference, Jose said the UDF betrayed the KC (M) party. “The UDF betrayed us, insulted KM Mani and the party. The KC (M) stood firmly with UDF during its highs and lows. The UDF has neglected and humiliated our MLAs in the Assembly,” Jose said. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan welcomed Jose’s faction with open arms to the LDF.

As Kerala is heading for Assembly elections in a few months, the LDF will be deciding whether Kappan or Jose will contest for the Pala seat.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Jose was elected as the chairman of Kerala Congress (M) and parliamentary party leader during a state committee meeting.

In 2019, the Thodupuzha Munsiff court put a stay on Jose’s election as KC (M) chairman. When Jose approached the Kattappana sub court, the court also upheld the lower court’s verdict. Soon, Jose approached the Kerala High Court. In November 2020, the Election Commission of India (ECI) recognized the Jose faction as the official Kerala Congress (M) and awarded Jose faction the “two leaves” symbol. Soon after, the Joseph faction approached the Kerala HC challenging the EC’s order.

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