Why do we need a sleeping president? Congress' Hibi Eden asks after Kerala poll rout

Congress MP Hibi Eden
Congress MP Hibi Eden . File photo

The anger and disappointment in the Congress ranks caused by the drubbing in the Kerala Assembly elections have started spilling out despite the leadership urging restraint.

Congress's young Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden pointed fingers apparently at KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran in harsh words on Tuesday. “Why do we still need a sleeping president,” Eden asked in a Facebook post, without naming Ramachandran.

Congress followers have come out supporting and opposing Eden's criticism. Those opposing the post say it is unfair to blame one person for the party's poor performance.

In a Facebook post on May 2, the results day, Eden had said that Congress lacked the organisational machinery to reach out to the people with its constructive activism as an opposition in the past five years. He said all leaders and people's representatives, including him, were responsible for that. “This debacle should be a lesson for leaders and party workers. We need to come back. The organisation should be strengthened. Leaders should go into the people,” he wrote.`

Senior Congress leader K Muraleedharan, who lost the poll from Nemom constituency, on Tuesday met former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala and Mullappally Ramachandran. Muraleedharan, the Vadakara MP, is learnt to have conveyed to the leaders that he doesn't call for leadership at the moment.

Why do we still need a Sleeping President ????

Posted by Hibi Eden on Tuesday, 4 May 2021

He will be meeting the press on Thursday.

The CPM-led Left Democratic Front has retained power in Kerala with 99 out of 140 seats while the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) won 41 seats, six less than what it had won in 2016.

Many senior leaders, who seem to be worried about the situation, have demanded course correction for the party to stay relevant.

Veteran Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan on Monday mooted leadership change when he told Manorama News that a leader like K Sudhakaran deserved due recognition.

Ahead of the elections, there were reports that Sudhakaran, a working president of the KPCC and MP from Kannur, may replace Mullappally Ramachandran as the Congress's state chief.

"Sudhakaran is a good leader. He should be utilised better. The party needs one voice," he said.

Senior Congress leader P T Thomas cited the party's complacency after the stunning victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He said the party has to correct its mistakes to move forward. He, however, made it clear that he was not calling for the resignation of Oommen Chandy or Ramesh Chennithala or Mullappally Ramachandran.

Joseph Vazhakkan, who was defeated by LDF's N Jayaraj in Kanjirappally seat, said the party cannot move forward without strengthening local leadership. He said decisions should not be imposed on the workers from above.

Kannur District Congress Committee (DCC) president Satheesan Pacheni also called for strengthening the party's foundations. Pacheni lost the poll to LDF's Kadannappalli Ramachandran in Kannur.

Congress's Alappuzha district chief M Liju resigned from the post taking moral responsibility for the party's poor performance in the district.

Liju, who contested from Ambalappuzha constituency, lost to CPM's H Salam by 11,125 votes. Of the nine seats in the district the Congress-led UDF could win only one as leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala retained his Haripad seat.

Idukki DCC president Ibrahim Kutty Kallar too expressed willingness to step down even as calling for a restructuring of the organisation. "Everyone should be ready to sacrifice any position if it's needed for strengthening the party," Kallar said.

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