Benny Behanan's dramatic resignation from the post of the UDF convener was the outcome of a prolonged dispute within the Congress, say party insiders.
Behanan announced the decision to step down from the top post of the opposition front at a press meet in Kochi on Sunday.
The MP from Chalakudy said he was pained to see rumours about the disagreement between him and senior leader Oommen Chandy. Behanan brushed aside the rumours and said he wanted to bring an end to them.
Sources inside the party, however, said there was some truth in the rumours about the fissures between Behanan and his political master Chandy.
It is learnt that Behanan was appointed UDF convener without the knowledge of Chandy, despite him being a loyalist of the latter.
Behanan was picked for the plum post by Ramesh Chennithala, a top party leader told Onmanorama.
However, Chennithala apparently did not try to save Behanan's chair in order to avoid a direct confrontation with Chandy over the issue.
“The party wanted to replace him with someone else after he was elected an MP. The KPCC leadership had also written to the national leadership about this. Behanan tried to avoid such a situation, but in vain,” the leader said.
The 'A' group wanted to replace Behanan with M M Hassan following the former's election as MP. However, Behanan reportedly tried to delay his resignation as long as possible by waiting for a decision from the party national leadership.
Hassan, a former KPCC interim president, is most likely to become the new UDF convener. “After Benny was elected an MP, he was overburdened with the front's charge. So there was a consensus within the party that Hassan should replace him,” a senior Congress leader told Onmanorama.
Group within group?
Grapevine within the party is that Behanan had recently been cosying up to the 'I' group headed by Chennithala. Behanan is considered a strong leader of the 'A' group led by Chandy.
Behanan's resignation is also seen as an outcome of the power equations within the 'A' group.
A source said there are two power centres within the 'A' group these days, one led by Behanan and the other by a senior leader close to Chandy.