No change of KPCC president, says AICC leader Tariq Anwar

Overhaul KPCC, DCCs soon: Congress leaders urge visiting AICC delegation
AICC general secretary Tariq Anwar with KPCC chief Mullappally Ramachandran during his visit to Kerala.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress on Monday ruled out replacing Kerala unit chief Mullapally Ramachandran as sought by some quarters after the party's poor showing in recent civic polls and urged its workers to strive hard for better results in the assembly elections due early next year.

There would be no change in the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) leadership. However, right from the booth, block to district levels, changes would be made, All-India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary in charge of Kerala Tariq Anwar said.

Talking to reporters here after meeting leaders of Congress and its partners in the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the last two days over the debacle in the local body polls swept by the ruling LDF, he said a detailed report on the deliberations would be submitted to party President Sonia Gandhi.

Anwar headed a delegation also comprising AICC secretaries Ivan D'Souza and P V Mohan which was on a mission to elicit suggestions to revamp the party ahead of the assembly elections.

After the local body polls, there had beena clamour in the party for a change of guard at the state-level leadership. Posters had appeared in various parts of the state demanding that the incumbent president be replaced either by Kannur MP, K Sudhakaran or Vatakara MP K Muraleedharan. After receiving flak from various quarters over the party's performance, KPCC President Ramachandran had owned responsibility,stating that success had "many fathers, but failure was an orphan".

Party sources said during the meeting with the AICC delegation several leaders had flagged various issues including, the need to change the working style of the state leadership, and sacking of non-performing district units.

Many had poured out their complaints and concerns and wanted immediate intervention of the high command to address the issues, the sources said.

Asked if the Congress-led UDF constituents, who met him on Monday, gave any suggestions, Anwar replied in the affirmative.

On whether a change of guard was among the suggestions, he said the constituents cannot interfere in other party's affairs. They have given "concrete suggestions" on how to improve UDF as a whole.

"We discussed with UDF allies in detail and they have given suggestions. We will take their suggestions seriously and will keep that in mind", the AICC leader said. He also said he had received some complaints about the DCCs and mandalam committees and would take steps to improve them. Some people also suggested some corrective steps be taken, Anwar said adding they would analyse where the party was lacking and see if changes can take place.

As the assembly elections, which are likely in April-May, were very close, he said there was need to start work from now itself at all levels. Work hard and make everyone active was his message to the party members.

Anwar urged all Congress leaders not to air their views before the media and instead reach out to the AICC as otherwise it would harm the party's prospects in the coming assembly poll.

The AICC general secretary met several party leaders, including members of Political Affairs Committee (PAC), KPCC office bearers, MPs and MLAs and others.

He said the Congress and UDF performed much better in the local body polls this year compared to its showing in 2015.

But the Congress had expected a much more impressive result in view of the innumerable corruption charges against the CPI(M) led LDF government in the state.

Though there were reports that leaders pressed for change of the present state leadership during the interactions with the delegation, a highly-placed AICC source said no such demand came up but there was sharp criticism against the working style.

"To my knowledge, no such demand has come up. Because, everyone knows that such a change is not practical as there are only three or four months left for the assembly polls. "But, many have complained against intense groupism, non- performance of many DCCs and the holding of DCC presidentship by some people's representatives in the state," the source told PTI.

There was also a general suggestion to give more representation for youth in the assembly polls.

"Many pointed out how CPI(M) gives the public an impression that they are giving prominence to youths. They also pointed out the example of the Marxist party picking up a 21-year-old college student for the post of Mayor in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation," the source said.

In the recent three-phased civic polls, the UDF won only 5,893 of the total 15,962 village panchayat wards, 727of the 2,080 block panchayat wards, 110 out of total 331 district panchayat seats, 1,172 of the 3,078 municipality wards and 120 of the total 414 divisions in six corporations.

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