Tussle in UDF over Pala by-election candidate

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 26 (IANS) The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) here on Monday discussed the name of candidate for the Pala Assembly by-election, to be held on September 23, amid growing bickering in the Kerala Congress (Mani), the third largest ally of the Congress in the state.

The Pala seat, since its creation in 1965, had been represented by the Kerala Congress (Mani) chief K.M. Mani till 2016 polls. After Mani's death in April this year, the party split into two factions -- one led by his son and Rajya Sabha member Jose K. Mani and the other by P.J. Joseph.

The UDF meeting tried to ensure that they didn't wash dirty linen in the public.

After the meeting, UDF chairman and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said things were going in the right direction. "It's nothing, but a technical issue. It will be sorted out soon," said Chennithala.

The UDF leadership, comprising former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Chennithala and Indian Union Muslim League chief P.K. Kunhalikutty, is confident to resolve the differences between the two factions.

According to reports, Joseph is eyeing the party chairman's post in lieu of allowing Mani junior to choose candidate for the by-election. Mani junior's wife Nisha and brother-in-law are said to be front-runners for nomination.

The UDF leadership has allowed both the factions three days to sort the differences out. If they fail then the UDF leadership will step in.

Kerala BJP chief P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said the NDA candidate would be announced on Friday. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) may repeat Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) veteran Mani C. Kappen. The announcement is likely in a day or two.

In 2016, Kappen had lost the election to Mani by 4,703 votes.

--IANS

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