The crisis in Kerala Congress (M) has reached a flashpoint with one faction dashing off a letter to the Election Commission saying working chairman PJ Joseph is now the chairman of the party. He has taken over after the death of party supremo KM Mani.
This has irked the other camp led by Mani's son Jose K Mani, MP, and if there is no rapprochement, this group may have to leave the party.
The letter was sent by Kerala Congress (M) organisational secretary Joy Abraham. The Mani faction has been demanding a meeting of the party state committee to elect the chairman.
The letter is a bid by Joseph to assert his hold in the party. During the recent Lok Sabha elections, he had staked claim for the lone seat allotted to the party. However, Mani succeeded in giving the ticket to His lieutenant Thomas Chazhikkadan. Joseph threatened to contest as an independent but was dissuaded by UDF leaders. He appeared to have been waiting and found this to be the opportune moment to assert his strength.
Incidentally, Joy Abraham is said to be of the Mani faction. Earlier, he had also issued a circular in favour of Joseph, allotting the party chairmanship to Joseph.
The Joseph faction does not have majority in either the parliamentary party or the state committee.
While Jose, Chazhikkadan and legislators N Jayaraj and Roshy Augustine belong to the Mani faction. Joseph has only Mons Joseph on his side. Senior leader CF Thomas is said to have moved over to Joseph group which should give the latter strength.
On Tuesday, Augustine had opposed the Speaker's decision to allot the parliamentary party leader post to Joseph against the wishes of the Mani group.