Kannur: Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President K Sudhakaran has scored a significant victory for a Congress panel in the director board elections of the Indira Gandhi Co-operative Hospital in Thalassery.
The Congress-led United Democratic Front cornered all the 12 seats for which elections were held. One UDF candidate was earlier elected unopposed.
Sunday's victory is special as he had faced a tough test in his home turf in Kannur district after the expulsion of local leader Mambaram Divakaran from Congress a week ago.
Divakaran was a former KPCC executive committee member and general secretary of the Kannur District Congress Committee (DCC).
He was thrown out from the party by Sudhakaran last week for fielding his own panel against the Congress candidates in the polls for the 12-member director board of the hospital. This rebel panel was widely expected to seize control of the hospital administration but the Sudhakaran's tactical plays and organisational skills helped the Congress to seize power.
The official Congress candidates reportedly have the backing of Sudhakaran.
The election turned out to be a fight between two senior leaders. Congress insiders expected that Divakaran, who had been serving as the hospital’s president for three decades, enjoyed the support of a majority of 5,800 members (who have voting rights) and would trump Sudhakaran’s panel. But that was not to be as the eagerly contested election indicated.
A senior Congress leader in Kannur had said on condition of anonymity that the cop-operative hospital election result would give shock treatment to Sudhakaran. “Official Congress panel will lose the election. This may even change the group equations in the State Congress. I hope from now on Sudhakaran will refrain from taking disciplinary actions against senior leaders who enjoy good ground support,” he had said a few days before the polls.
The cooperative hospital was launched in the 1980s under the tutelage of former Congress leaders in the Kannur district. Divakaran became its president in 1991 with the support of Sudhakaran. Under his leadership, the hospital has emerged as a prominent healthcare facility in the Kannur district in the last three decades. The two leaders shared a good rapport for a long time until they fell out a few years ago.
Recently, Divakaran rebutted Sudhakaran’s claim that he had assaulted Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during his college days.