Cong faction feud plays out again in Kerala as RC bats for sulking OC

Opposition Leader VD Satheesan, KPCC president K Sudhakaran, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal. Design: Onmanorama

The simmering tensions within the Kerala unit of the Congress continued to play out on Friday with senior factional leaders reiterating their charges against the new power axis.

Ramesh Chennithala sent out a clear message he was not ready for a truce as he spoke at length against the new leadership, without taking names.

A party event in Kottayam saw Chennithala, the leader of the ‘I’ group, speaking in the voice of a spokesperson for Oommen Chandy, who heads the rival ‘A’ faction.

“It is wrong to turn a blind eye to the problems in Congress. When I led the party, I have never used the language of arrogance. During the 17 years Oommen Chandy and I headed the party, the party had victory after victory,” Chennithala was speaking at the party event in which Nattakom Suresh took charge as the Kottayam DCC president.

Senior Congress leaders Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy
Senior Congress leaders Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy

In a direct attack on PCC chief K Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan, Chennithala said “if the track record of those who advocate discipline is examined, many would not be in the party now.”

"I wouldn't say I should be consulted before making decisions in the party. I'm only a primary member of the party. Oommen Chandy, meanwhile, is an AICC general secretary. The state leaders are liable to discuss the party matters with him,” he said.

Chandy did not attend the event. However, his loyalist KC Joseph echoed Chennithala's charges.

Joseph, a former minister, said the recent disciplinary actions in the party were one-sided.

He said those who questioned the present leadership had to face action while there was no step taken against Rajmohan Unnithan, who said Chandy and Chennithala could form their own party if they were not happy in the Congress.

VD Satheesan
Congress leader VD Satheesan. File photo: Manorama

Speaking to media in Kozhikode, Satheesan refused to comment on Chennithala's charges.

“The Congress has a big lesson to learn from the defeats in the two consecutive assembly elections. There is an allegation that Congress is just a crowd. This perception has to go. For that, we need to change into a semi-cadre party. All the issues in the party will be solved within six months,” he said.

He confirmed calling Chandy and Chennithala over phone to inform them about the United Democratic Front's meet scheduled for September 6.

He said Chennithala promised to attend the meet while Chandy did not pick up the call.

 Chennithala crossed limits: Sidhique

KPCC working president T Siddique said Chennithala's reactions crossed the limits. “No one should try to fuel the crisis in the party. Statements harming unity should have been avoided,” Siddique said during a chat with Manorama News.

Siddique, who used to be a strong Oommen Chandy loyalist, was appointed PCC working president without the knowledge of Chandy.

Siddique, along with senior leaders like Thiruvanachoor Radhakrishnan, PT Thomas and Kodikkunnil Suresh, has been keeping a distance from the ‘A’ group after the restructuring of the party's state unit.

Siddique revealed he had supported Praveen Kumar to the post of DCC president in Kozhikode over the nominee of his own ‘A’ group.

“I didn't consider group there,” he said. He said his appointment as working president was also not based on group equations.

“I was appointed considering the political situation in Malabar. Rahul Gandhi and A K Antony were also part of the discussions to select me,” he said.

Siddique was appointed PCC working president along with P T Thomas and Kodikkunnil Suresh after K Sudhakaran was made the PCC president replacing Mullappally Ramachandran.

Meanwhile, senior leader K V Thomas said he was ready to do all possible interventions to solve the crisis in the party.

He said group politics had no more relevance in Congress.

“I think group equations played little role in the appointment of DCC chiefs. However, the decisions were taken giving due recognition to the prominent groups. I don't think that Sudhakaran or Satheesan or KC Venugopal would think of starting a new group,” he said.

Thomas was appointed KPCC working president ahead of the assembly polls. However, he was dropped from the post during the restructuring.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.