Joseph faction was allotted drum symbol only for civic polls: HC

Kochi: The Kerala Congress (M) group headed by PJ Joseph may be allotted a new election symbol in the upcoming Legislative Assembly elections. The High Court has clarified that its earlier order to allow its candidates to contest under the drum (chenda) symbol applied only for the just-concluded local body elections in Kerala. 

The court clarified that the previous order does not mean that PJ Joseph has the right to represent the Kerala Congress (M). The matter should be decided in the appropriate forum, the court stated. 

Justice A Mohammed Mushtaq gave the clarifications while considering a petition filed by PJ Joseph and PC Kuriakose stating that candidates from the Joseph faction should not be considered as independents in the local elections and seeking action on the basis of a November 11 order of the Election Commission that allowed the ‘chenda’ symbol for the group.

‘Chenda’ is a wooden drum that is used as a percussion instrument.  

The rival Kerala Congress faction of Jose K Mani had earlier raised a dispute over a petition showing the name of the petitioner as ‘PJ Joseph, representing the Kerala Congress (M) as its working chairman’. It argued that Joseph had no right to use the name of the party and represent it in view of the order of the Election Commission on the official group of Kerala Congress (M). 

The court ruled that the dispute regarding this was already in the civil court and it would not be appropriate for it to comment about it in this case. 

The court also said that the Election Commission's decision to allow an election symbol to any group does not directly affect the party’s registration.

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