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Congress in Kerala divided over the release of list of District Congress Presidents

- August 29, 2021

Thiruvananthapuram, August 29 (bpNS)

While the Congress party of Kerala had cited age as the criteria to deny Rajya Sabha seat to Prof P.J. Kurien in 2017 who was the sitting Deputy Chairman , the same party  have two septuagenarian leaders to head the District Congress Committees (DCC). The list of DCC presidents was released on Saturday night.

Immediately after the list was out open rebellion came out in the Congress with the former party state general secretary (Organisation), K.P. Anil Kumar came out in open in a private television channel and vented his ire on the list which according to him was announced without taking into consideration several factors including age, caste, communal, and group equations.

Veteran leader and former Aranmula MLA, K. Sivadasan Nair also came out against the leadership in open in the same private news channel. State Congress Chief,K. Sudhakaran, promptly announced that both the leaders were temporarily suspended from the primary membership of the party for the time being.

After the drubbing in the 2021 assembly elections, the party high command was trying to develop a new leadership for the Kerala State Congress and had removed Ramesh Chennithala as Opposition leader and had installed V.D. Satheesan in his place. This, according to the camp of Chennithala was done without proper consultations with the veteran leader who had done a commendable performance as leader of opposition in the state assembly. Rahul and Sonia Gandhi held several rounds of consultations with the sulking leader both in person and over telephone to pacify him.

Another senior leader of the party, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who is the only leader in the state Congress to command respect from the cadres across the state and able to speak to lower-level party functionaries in the first name was also not properly consulted before the announcement of the opposition leader’s name as well as in the DCC president list.

Chennithala and Chandy are heading the two powerful groups in the Congress party, “I” and “A” group respectively which has been all along the lifeline of the Congress party. While opposition leader V.D. Satheeshan, KPCC chief K Sudhakaran and AICC general secretary (Organisation), K.C. Venugopal now claim that they don’t have group affiliations, the three were associated with “I” group for a long time, and their political ascendancy, maybe expect for Sudhakaran, was courtesy the group factors.

P.S. Prasanth, Congress candidate from the Nedumangad assembly constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district has leveled serious allegations against the new Thiruvananthapuram DCC president, the septuagenarian leader, Palode Ravi stating that the latter had conspired to ensure his defeat. He told presspersons that Palode Ravi was given a reward as DCC president for defeating him.

N.D. Appachan, the newly announced DCC president from Wayanad district, the constituency of former AICC president Rahul Gandhi is again a septuagenarian leader who was keeping ill health. While Sudhakaran said that Appachan was the choice of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress group managers in the state are not satisfied.

While group leaders like Chennithala and Chandy may not come out in the open against the new DCC list, things will not be smooth for the functioning of the already battered and bruised Congress party.

A senior leader of the Congress party who does not want to be named while speaking to BPNS said, “The Congress of Kerala has survived on group politics and if we deny that there is no group in state Congress, then it is a blatant lie. Satheeshan, Sudhakaran and K.C. Venugopal had strong group affiliations and they had climbed the Congress ladder only through group leader’s blessings. One fine day you cant say that there are no groups and that would mean rejecting the lower level party cadres and functionaries who had fought on behalf of you at the grassroots.”