The Election Commission (EC) has temporarily frozen the two leaves symbol of the Kerala Congress (M) as it is inquiring into the dispute between two factions claiming ownership of the party, a senior EC official said here on Thursday.
Based on a representation received from one of the factions of the KC(M) led by Jose K. Mani, which apprehended that the other faction led by P.J. Joseph may misuse the symbol in the ensuing polls, the commission has decided to freeze the symbol till January 20 when the next hearing is scheduled, an EC official said.
Sources said if no decision was taken on the dispute on January 20, the order to freeze the symbol may be extended. The order has been issued under clause 15 of the the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
Mr. Mani, a Rajya Sabha member and son of KC(M) founder K.M. Mani, confirmed to the PTI that he had indeed made the request to the EC to freeze the symbol for the time being to prevent the other faction from misusing it in the ensuing polls.
The full commission Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra began the hearing on Monday.
Both the factions are claiming that they represent the original KC(M) after the death of K.M. Mani in April, 2019. Mr. Joseph, KC(M) MLA from Thodupuzha, is heading the other faction and is the partys working chairman.
The KC(M) is the third largest partner of the Congress-led United Democratic Front.