Kerala Congress (M) working chairman PJ Joseph appears to have flagged up rebellion in the party with party's Karshaka Congress state secretary Joseph Kandathil filing his nomination as in Independent for the Pala by-election. It was after long-drawn deliberations in the wake of rift between the two groups, one led by Joseph and the other by Jose K Mani, MP, the son of party supremo late KM Mani.
With Joseph hell bent against Jose K Mani fielding his wife Nisha, the group finally went for Mani's aide Jose Tom Pulikkunnel as the candidate. It was a dramatic move when minutes before the time for filing the nominations closed that Kandathil came to the office with a team of Joseph group leaders, including his personal staff, to file his papers. He has filed his papers as an Independent candidate.
Joseph, sticking to his earlier stand, made it clear that Jose Tom, who was earlier suspended by him, could not be given the party symbol of 'two leaves'. This comes after Jose Mani had submitted a letter seeking the party's symbol for Pulikkunnel. According to sources close to Joseph, there is the need for a dummy candidate in case the Pulikkunnel's nomination paper gets rejected.
They claimed that there could be discrepancies in Pulikkunnel's paper and as a backup the Karshaka Congress leader filed his papers. He would withdraw if Pulikkunnel's papers were accepted. This comes when the Jose K Mani faction has already fielded a dummy candidate. But Joseph group sources claim that they were not aware of a dummy candidate and Kandathil was put up only by the local leadership and had nothing to do with Joseph.