Kottayam (Ker), Sep 1 (PTI) After getting the Election Commission's official recognition for his group, Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani on Tuesday threatened legal action against senior leader P J Joseph and MLAs in his faction for violating a whip issued to abstain from the voting held in the recent Rajya Sabha bypoll from the state.
Buoyed by the victory in the legal battle between his faction and rival one led by P J Joseph before the Election Commission by getting the 'Two Leaves' symbol, Jose said those who won the elections on the party symbol should come back to the Kerala Congress (M) fold.
Otherwise,they will face disqualification,he added.
Joseph faction, which suffered a major setback in the factional feud, today said it will legally challenge the EC decision.
On August 30, the Election Commission issued a majority verdict saying the group led by Jose K Mani is the Kerala Congress (M) and entitled to use its name and reserved symbol 'Two Leaves.' 'There is only one Kerala Congress after the EC verdict in our favour.
We don't have any enmity towards anyone.Doors of the party are open for those who left the party and joined the rival faction due to some misunderstanding,' Jose told reporters at Pala.
Noting that MLA Roshi Augustine had issued a whip to all Kerala Congress (M) MLAs to abstain from voting in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, Jose, son of late Kerala Congress stalwart K M Mani, said those who violated the party whip will face legal action.
'According to the Assembly records, Roshi Augustine is the Kerala Congress (M) Whip,' Jose noted.
While P J Joseph and his supporter Mons Joseph voted for the UDF candidate in the Rajya Sabha by-election violating the whip, supporters of Jose, including Roshi Augustine and N Jeyaraj, were not present in the bypoll held on August 24.
Joseph faction leader C F Thomas also did not vote in the bypoll which saw the victory of M V Shreyams Kumar, state president of the ruling LDF ally Loktantrik Janata Party.
Jose said at present the party is not associated with any political front in the state and it will take a political decision on the matter before the coming local body polls.
Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the Jose faction's victory in the battle for the symbol and official recognition, the Congress-led UDF on Tuesday said it had not ousted the Jose K Mani faction from the front.
'Technically Jose K Mani group is part of the UDF,' UDF chairman and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ramesh Chennithala told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
The UDF, which had threatened to oust the Jose faction for taking a stand against the UDF candidate in the Rajya Sabha bypoll, postponed the front's meeting scheduled for September 3 in view of the fresh developments.
Jose faction's issues with the UDF leadership aggravated in June this year after it was 'ousted' from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in connection with the tussle over the Kottayam district panchayat chief post.
The UDF leadership had later rectified it saying the Jose group was not ousted from the front and it was only temporarily barred from the UDF meeting for refusing to honour an agreement made in public with the coalition front over sharing the Kottayam district panchayat president's post.PTI TGB BN WELCOME BN WELCOME