Sudhakaran, Satheesan incensed as Chandy, Chennithala boycott UDF meet

VD Satheesan and Oommen Chandy.
(From left to right) VD Satheesan, Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala. File Photo

Thiruvananthapuram: The fault line within the Congress over the organisational revamp widened further between the present and previous state leaderships, with the current dispensation deciding to approach the party High Command against Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala's obstructionist tactics that weaken the organisation.

The two leaders boycotting a United Democratic Front (UDF) meeting, despite reconciliation moves, has incensed KPCC president K Sudhakaran and Opposition leader V D Satheesan, leading to an apparent open war between the two leadership groups.

Sudhakaran and Satheesan appeared to be in no mood to yield to the pressure exerted by the former leaders. Though they have decided to take up the issue with the High Command, they would not be travelling to Delhi to lodge the complaint in person.

Satheesan had discussed the issue with Chandy three days ago in the wake of the latter visiting Delhi and complaining against the new leadership to AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi. The Opposition leader also held talks with Chennithala and representatives of the 'I' group.

Satheesan told both the leaders that their views would be accommodated to the maximum while appointing KPCC secretaries. It was also conveyed that all their demands, except the one to stall the party rejig move, were under consideration.

Both the senior leaders boycotted the UDF meeting after talks with Satheesan, making the latter wonder what had happened in a short time after his discussions with them.

The Opposition leader took the mediatory initiative after Sudhakaran stood firm on the decision to go for an organisational revamp. Satheesan has now taken a stand against further such moves after the senior leaders stayed away from the UDF meet.

K Sudhakaran, VD Satheesan
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President K Sudhakaran and Opposition Leader in the Assembly V D Satheesan

Satheesan is also miffed over Sudhakaran's absence at the UDF meeting.

Arguments and counter-arguments: Old vs New
Former leadership:
•The distribution of memberships has not started. It's a move to sabotage organisational polls

•Even after organisational polls were announced, the leadership is going ahead with nomination-based revamp

•Instead of convening a meeting of KPCC's political affairs committee, comprising senior leaders, the new leadership is holding meetings of leaders loyal to them. Decisions are thrust upon others

•Unilaterally decided disciplinary actions are initiated without forming a disciplinary committee

•Groups were sidelined while assigning responsibilities to KPCC functionaries

New leadership
•The distribution of memberships has been inaugurated and membership books will be made available soon. The membership campaign has time till March 2022

•According to the schedule, the distribution of memberships and party elections would take eight times, which could prolong to more than one year. The party activities will be adversely affected if the dysfunctional jumbo committee continued till the polls. Hence, a new team should be formed through organisational rejig

•Discussions are on regarding the structure of the party disciplinary committee. The recommendations will be handed over to the High Command shortly

•T U Radhakrishnan, whose name was recommended in the list by Chennithala, has been given the charge of the organisation. All office-bearers will be assigned tasks after finalising the list of leaders who will be in charge of affiliated organisations.

Anwar's statements leave senior leaders fuming

Besides the delayed intervention of the High Command in the contentious issues within the Congress, senior leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala were also angered by the statements of Tariq Anwar, the AICC general secretary in-charge of Kerala affairs.

Chandy has been miffed over Anwar's response on the issues the senior leader had brought to the notice of AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi. Anwar's response came a day after Chandy's meeting with Sonia in New Delhi.

While Chandy opined that it would be better to stall the organisational rejig, the AICC general secretary said such a revamp would be necessary. On the former chief minister's complaint that the KPCC leadership has been side-lining the political affairs committee, Anwar responded saying the committee had only an advisory role.

The 'A' and 'I' groups in the Congress's state unit were of the belief that AICC organisational general secretary K C Venugopal, who has been backing KPCC president K Sudhakaran and Opposition leader V D Satheesan, was controlling Anwar.

Chandy and Chennithala felt that the AICC, which should have assumed a mediatory role, has become a party in the issue.

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