Worries of another bout of internal feuding persist
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) seemed to play a waiting game on Sunday regarding the much-anticipated announcement of the list of new Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office-bearers.
The ‘delay’ has triggered speculation that the impending nominations would reignite another bout of bitter falling out in the KPCC over reorganisation. Some insiders said a last-minute bid by the AICC to make the process rancour-free might have caused the hesitancy.
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan told reporters in New Delhi that factional loyalty was not a criterion for nomination. The second phase of KPCC reorganisation entails the naming of vice presidents, general secretaries and secretaries. The 51-member panel will be the apex decision-making body of the Congress in Kerala.
A party insider said emphasis was on youth and competency. Caste, communal and gender demographics had impacted the nomination process in some measure.
By one account, the AICC believed that the BJP has ceased to be a disruptive force in Kerala, given its ‘severe loss’ of political ground in the 2021 Assembly elections. It sensed an opportunity to regain lost turf.
The AICC has reportedly cautioned the KPCC that the party in Kerala risked locking itself out of power for another successive term if the intra-party feuding persisted. The focus should be to take the fight to the LDF camp.
Nevertheless, several issues remained unaddressed.
Congress leaders Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala, V.M. Sudheeran, and Mullappally Ramachandran had demanded that the KPCC leadership expand decision-making beyond the ‘emergent group’ purportedly centred around KPCC president K. Sudhakaran, AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal and Mr. Satheesan.
Mr. Sudheeran had resigned from party posts lamenting the ‘lack of consultations.’ Several leaders who defected to the CPI(M) recently had alleged the same.
By one account, the AICC has thrown its weight behind the incumbent KPCC leadership. It reportedly felt that lack of a clear helmsmanship had spelt doom for the party in the previous Assembly elections. It expected the reconstituted KPCC to pull the party and UDF together and prime the coalition for the next electoral battle.
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