New Delhi: Election Commission has
recognised a faction led by P C Thomas as "Kerala Congress
(Anti-merger Group)" and allowed it to use any of the free
symbols for the April 13 assembly polls in Kerala.
The Commission also froze the "bicycle" symbol
reserved for the Kerala Congress headed by P J Joseph whose
group merged with Kerala Congress (M), a Congress ally.
Before the merger last year, Joseph faction was with
the CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala. But
Thomas, who was a prominent leader in the Joseph group,
opposed the merger with Kerala Congress (M) and decided to
stay with the LDF.
"The pro-merger group led by P J Joseph is free to
contest election on the symbol of the party, which they have
joined -- Kerala Congress (M)," the EC said.
In an order passed yesterday, the full commission
headed by Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said that
the commission made this interim arrangement pending final
disposal of the matter after the ongoing elections.
The order said that the Commission "cannot come to a
conclusive determination" that the Kerala Congress followed
the principle laid down by the Supreme Court while taking the
decision to merge with the Kerala Congress (M).
"The matter, therefore, needs to be examined further",
the Commission said and added that in view of the Assembly
polls process already set in motion, it was "not in a position
to decide the issue finally at present."
In view of the assembly elections in the state, the
Commission held a meeting with both anti and pro merger groups
on March 21.
The main points which emerged at the meeting were (i)
Out of the four MLAs in the assembly elected on the reserved
on the "bicycle" of Kerala Congress in 2006, three were in
favour of merger and only one left with the anti-merger group.
It was also not clearly coming out that the
resolutions passed on April 30 meeting were taken in
accordance with the prescribed procedure in the party
constitution, the EC said.