Factional sparks fly as Cong picks new DCC chiefs in Kerala, suspends 2 senior leaders

DCC chiefs
DCC chiefs in Kottayam, Idukki and Alappuzha were changed at the last minute

The Congress on Saturday announced the new district chiefs in Kerala and cracked the whip on two senior leaders for publicly airing their differences over the selection of DCC presidents.

The party also suspended KPCC general secretary K P Anilkumar and former MLA K Sivadasan Nair for their comments on TV channels against the process of selecting the DCC chiefs.

The new District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents are:
Thiruvananthapuram - Palode Ravi, Kollam - Rajendra Prasad, Pathanamthitta - Satheesh Kochuparambil, Alappuzha - B Babu Prasad, Kottayam - Nattakom Suresh, Idukki - C P Mathew, Ernakulam -- Mohammed Shiyas, Thrissur - Jose Valloor, Palakkad - A Thankappan, Kozhikode - K Praveenkumar, Malappuram - V S Joy, Wayanad - N D Appachan, Kannur - Martin George and Kasaragod - P K Faisal.

DCC chiefs in Kottayam, Idukki and Alappuzha were changed at the last minute, apparently taking into account opinion of senior leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala.
Nattakom Suresh is a nominee of Chandy while Chennithala wanted Babu Prasad to lead the Alappuzha unit of the party.

The new names were announced after protracted discussions and disputes reflecting the deep factionalism in the state unit of the Congress.

Suspension for key leaders
KPCC general secretary K P Anilkumar and former MLA K Sivadasan Nair were suspended for questioning the manner in which new DCC presidents were selected.

Talking to a television channel, Anil Kumar made a scathing criticism of the new state leadership in Congress.
He said the new list of DCC presidents would be the Waterloo of the Congress in Kerala.

He said the DCC chiefs were selected only as per the personal interests of KPCC president K Sudhakaran, Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan and other MPs.

The party would collapse if the list was not revised. He made the criticism moments before the new DCC chiefs were announced officially.

Talking to the same channel, Sivadasan Nair also supported the statements made by Anil Kumar.
Anil Kumar was particularly unhappy over the appointment of A Thankappan as the DCC president in Palakkad.

Soon after the list was announced, Sudhakaran issued a statement suspending the two leaders with immediate effect for making public remarks in violation of party discipline.

The disciplinary action is seen as a strict message to party leaders, who are unhappy over the selection of the new DCC presidents.

Not scared: Anil Kumar
Reacting sharply to the suspension, Anil Kumar said he could not be scared with the disciplinary action. He said most of the new DCC chiefs were personal favourites of the state leaders. He said the party will see an explosion of issues from tomorrow.

Sivadasan Nair said he did not make any remarks against the leaders. “I only wanted to strengthen the party,” he told a TV channel.
The Congress high command decided to appoint new DCC chiefs in all 14 districts of Kerala following the party's drubbing in the April assembly polls. The restructuring in the party was initiated with the appointment of Satheesan as Leader of the Opposition and Sudhakaran as KPCC president.

The appointment of DCC presidents were delayed due to difference of opinion between the new leadership and party veterans Chandy and Chennithala who head the prominent factions in the party's state unit.

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