The Election Commission has 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'. Ashok Lavasa, who vacated the office of the Election Commissioner on Monday to join the Asian Development Bank, gave a dissent order, saying that till the time fresh affidavits of support are not called in, neither of the two factions can be recognised as the Kerala Congress (M).
In its majority order, the Commission said Jose K Mani has the support of the majority in legislature and organisational wings of the party, sources said. The other faction is led by PJ Joseph.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra gave the order that the group led by Jose K Mani is the Kerala Congress (Mani) and is entitled to use its name and its reserved symbol “Two Leaves" for the purposes of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968. They were of the view that fresh affidavits were not needed, the sources said.
Lavasa was of the view that while some members of the party have given affidavits of support to both the sides, some of the affidavits were not clear on the issue of support, sources aware of the developments said on Tuesday. They said Lavasa had flagged the issue of deficiencies in the affidavits in the first week of July based on a written report by the EC's law department.
Lavasa reiterated his stand, this time in the form of an order, in the last week of August. The dispute in the party had started between vice chairman Jose and working chairman Joseph following the death of party chairman K M Mani last year.
The matter reached the poll panel late last year and the last hearing was held in February this year.