KC(M) leaves it to Mani to choose candidate

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Decision after consultations with leaders at various levels

Amidst emerging signs of a thaw in the bitter feud between the factions, a steering committee meeting of the Kerala Congress (M) has entrusted party chairman K.M. Mani to take a final call on the party’s candidate to the Kottayam Lok Sabha seat.

Addressing media persons here on Sunday, Mr. Mani said a decision on the candidate would be made after due consultations with the party leaders at various levels. ‘‘We asked for two seats but gave only one. So the priority now will be to get our candidate elected and retain the seat,’’ he said.

According to him, the steering committee discussed no particular names but just the modus operandi of selecting the candidate. As to when the name of the candidate would be announced, Mr. Mani replied ‘very soon.’

Meanwhile, he parried a query on party working chairman P.J. Joseph staking claim for the seat and said such matters would be taken up for discussion in appropriate party forums. ‘‘We indeed have a number of qualified hands to be placed as candidates but a final decision will be taken after hearing all the leaders,’’ he said.

Earlier in the morning, Mr. Joseph had officially conveyed the party leadership his willingness to contest during a parliamentary party meeting of KC(M). The meeting also agreed to settle for one seat as demanded by the Congress, considering that the latter’s position as the single largest party would be crucial after the election.

Party deputy chairman C.F. Thomas, who addressed the media after the meeting, said the party would move ahead united and remained hopeful of the steering committee coming up with an amicable decision.

Meanwhile, sources said the present conditions in the party were favourably disposed towards Mr. Joseph, though it was unclear whether he had received an assurance on the same. ‘‘Mr. Joseph has conveyed his demand directly to Mr. Mani and during the two meetings on Sunday. It, however, remains to be seen if the opposing faction will step back on its demand for the seat and let the tension diffuse,’’ they said.

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