With the leadership crisis in the Kerala Congress (Mani) reaching the verge of a split, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan has called a meeting of the party MLAs and is believed to give more time to the party to elect its parliamentary leader.
Working chairman PJ Joseph aims to take over chairmanship, following the death of supremo and party founder KM Mani. However, Mani's son Jose K Mani is eyeing the post and Joseph was blunt in saying it is not the party policy to have hereditary rule. As the senior leader, he has the right to be the chairman. This has not gone well with Jose who has majority in the party state commission.
To add to his woes, Joseph's group sent a letter to the Election Commission that Joseph would be the chairman for the time being and another to the Speaker saying he would also be the parliamentary party chief.
On a letter from the Jose group, Roshy Augustine, MLA, forwarded a letter to the Speaker seeking more time to elect the new legislature party leader. The Speaker is said to have granted more time as he had earlier asked the party to elect its parliamentary party leader by June 9.
Augustine said the party would not be able to summon the parliamentary party meet to elect the leader as the new chairman was yet to be elected and sought 15 days.
Separately, UDF leading partner Congress intervened and asked the KC (M) to settle the issue. Discussions over the last two days between the warring groups saw proposals put forward. One was to make Jose party chairman and Joseph legislature party leader. He could continue as working chairman.
The other was to make CF Thomas chairman and Joseph legislature party leader. Jose would continue to be vice-chairman and could be working chairman if Joseph agrees to relinquish the post.
But with both groups firm on their stands, it remains to be seen who would agree to make a compromise or else a split appears inevitable.