New Delhi: The Congress high command once again engaged in power play by appointing the party’s Kannur strongman, K Sudhakaran, as the president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee.
The high command ignored the interests of group managers—as in the case of the opposition leader earlier—to elevate Sudhakaran to the top post. Rahul Gandhi, too, directly interfered in the matter in his capacity as an MP from Kerala.
Gandhi had instructed to do away with the trend of appointing KPCC presiding based on the recommendations by group leaders. At the same time, he also directed to avoid creating a feeling that the AICC was forcing its decision on the State party unit.
It was based on Gandhi’s directive that the AICC general secretary in-charge of Kerala, Tariq Anwar, held telephonic discussions with group leaders, people’s representatives and party office-bearers. The talks were to seek their views on the new KPCC president.
Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala did not suggest any names. While a section of people’s representatives supported Sudhakaran, some others opposed him. Others left the decision to the party’s national leadership.
The high command had also sought the views of senior leader A K Antony, and AICC general secretary (organization) K C Venugopal.
Besides Sudhakaran, the high command also considered Kodikkunnil Suresh, K V Thomas and P T Thomas to the post of KPCC president. Considering the clout he has among party workers, the high command went ahead with Sudhakaran.
The national leadership also felt that a hardcore politician like Sudhakaran was needed to counter the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government. It has to be noted that Gandhi himself conveyed Sudhakaran of the high command’s decision to appoint him as the KPCC president.
Kodikkunnil Suresh and P T Thomas were appointed working presidents since they were also under active consideration for the post of KPCC president. T Siddique was made the working president as the youth and minority representative from Malabar. His appointment as the predecessor to former working president, the late M I Shanavas, also balanced the community equations.
K V Thomas, dropped from the post of working president, may be considered as the convener of the Congress-led United Democratic Front.