Pala: The chances of Nisha Jose K Mani, wife of Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani, being nominated as the party candidate for the Pala assembly bypoll are high. Majority of the leaders at an unofficial meet of the steering committee of the Kerala Congress (M) on Friday backed the candidature of Nisha. A seven-member subcommittee led by Thomas Chazhikadan, MP, has been set up to decide the candidate.
Jose K Mani, a Rajya Sabha MP, said he would convey the decision on candidature to the United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership on Sunday.
The UDF leadership is likely to accept the candidate suggested by the Jose faction of the party, sources hinted on Friday.
During Friday's meet, the majority opinion was that either Nisha or Jose should contest the poll. Though other names also came up, the majority of the leaders backed Nisha. It was also pointed out that since it was a bypoll, Nisha and Jose should withdraw and some other leader should contest. Then the subcommittee was set up to seek the opinion of party workers.
Roshy Augustine said everyone, including the party chairman, can contest. Jose is not part of the subcommittee.
P K Sajeev, Stephen George, P T Jose, N Jayaraj MLA, Joseph M Puthussery, and K A Antony are the members of the subcommittee headed by Chazhikadan.
The Pala bypoll was necessitated after the demise of party supremo K M Mani in April. Soon after his death, the factional feud in the party worsened with one camp led by his son Jose and the other by Kerala Congress (M) working chairman P J Joseph battled it out to claim the supreme post in the party.
The factional feud is also delaying the party’s decision on a candidate for the bypoll scheduled for September 23.
Preference for bankable candidate
Joseph said that the candidate most likely to win from Pala would be given the chief preference. The meet on Sunday would decide the candidate. "Only the candidate with a winning chance would be given the party symbol of ‘two leaves’. It would be a tough battle in Pala this time. K M Mani had also won for just 4,200 votes. Therefore, the Congress and all the allies would make a collective decision on the candidate," Joseph said.
The UDF subcommittee is likely to hold discussions with both the factions in Kottayam on Saturday. The district leadership meet would be inaugurated by Jose K Mani at 2.30pm on Saturday.
Mani represented the Pala seat for 54 years.