Kerala Congress, appearing to live up to its 'tradition' of tearing itself apart, split after a parallel meeting of the state committee elected Jose K Mani as party chairman.
Row over the top post after the death of party supremo KM Mani saw working chairman PJ Joseph and Mani's son Jose K Mani lead two factions in the tussle for the slot.
The meeting of the state committee was termed illegal by Joseph who claimed that he was the only one authorised to convene the meeting.
Efforts by the Congress to intervene in the matter of the UDF constituent and plead with Jose to put off the meeting failed. Just two of the five party MLAs attended the meeting and senior leaders like CF Thomas and Thomas Unniyadan stayed away.
EJ Augustin proposed Jose's name which was accepted unanimously at a closed-door meeting in Kottayam attended by around 320 members, though several district chiefs stayed away.
Joseph had said earlier in the day that Jose was likely to leave the party on his own in the present condition. "The working chairman is in charge of the party in the absence of the chairman. Only I have the right to call the state committee. Convening the committee without my knowledge is violation of the rules," he said. Jose had in a counter claimed that the meeting was 'not unconstitutional'.
What remains to be seen is when Joseph would take disciplinary action against Jose on the backdrop of several top names turning against the latter. Also, the stand of UDF constituents Congress and Muslim League on the split would be vital.
The difference in opinion over the party chairman post following the demise of party leader K M Mani has now resulted in the split in Kerala Congress (M).