Curious case of Congress in Kerala: Ready for revamp, but Chennithala, Mullappally won't go

Oommen Chandy, Mullappally Ramachandran, Ramesh Chennithala
Oommen Chandy, Mullappally Ramachandran, Ramesh Chennithala (from left)

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress has muffled the demand for a change in leadership, paving the way for Ramesh Chennithala and Mullappally Ramachandran to continue as the leader of the opposition and president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Party (KPCC), respectively. 

The Congress succeeded in preventing the party’s political affairs committee (PAC) from discussing the change of leadership, though it talked about the need for a total revamp without offending anyone. 

The PAC, which met here on Friday, decided against singling out or criticising anyone for the drubbing the party had received at the recently concluded Assembly polls. 

The meeting arrived at an understanding that the revamping of the party—from the booth level to KPCC--should be done to regain the confidence of the people and also to boost the confidence of the party workers. The revamping process would be initiated with the support of the Congress high command. 

The PAC also decided to restructure the ineffective jumbo committees, and to return to the earlier structure of having one coordination committee in each constituency. Currently, each constituency has two block committees.

Normally, the KPCC leadership used to step down after taking up the responsibility of election debacles. A demand for such change was raised from the local level onwards, and even the representatives of the high command had advised Mullappally to quit the KPCC post.

Encouraged by Chennithala’s refusal to quit as the leader of opposition, Mullappally decided to stick on. Ordinary party workers, however, expected that the duo would resign once they face criticism in the PAC meeting attended by top leaders.

Chennithala, Mullappally and Oommen Chandy owned up the responsibility for the poll drubbing, and successfully deterred possible criticism against them in the PAC.  When a total revamp was suggested, K Sudhakaran and K Muraleedharan supported the move. 

Senior leader P J Kurien was the lone participant who demanded Chennithala and Mullappally to step down. His demand, however, did not get enough support. He wanted Chennithala to quit if Mullappally gave up the post of the KPCC chief. 

Referring to the leaders taking up responsibility for the poll debacle, V D Satheesan said it was not enough, and they should themselves decide their future course of action. 

The PAC would meet against after the lockdown. The revamping of the organization—from the booth level to KPCC—would take time, and till then, Mullappally would continue at the top. Chennithala could continue as the leader of the opposition since he was not facing much criticism.

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.