Congress polls: KPCC president, existing DCC chiefs likely to continue

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

Thiruvananthapuram: Decks have been almost cleared for the continuance of 14 District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents after the impending organisational elections in the State Congress unit. There is also a likelihood of K Sudhakaran continuing as the KPCC president after the organisational polls.

An understanding to retain the incumbent DCC chiefs has been broadly reached at the meeting of the top leaders held in Thiruvananthapuram. Leaders such as KPCC president K Sudhakaran, Opposition Leader in the Assembly VD Satheesan, former KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and UDF convener MM Hassan attended the meeting other than returning officer G Parameshwara in charge of organisational polls.

The meeting was held after the returning officer handed over the directive of the AICC to the State party leadership to find out a compromise formula ahead of the polls.

The meeting of senior leaders decided to select the 280 members of the KPCC general body, which forms the electoral college for the election of the KPCC president, on a consensus note.

As per the understanding, those who were elected as KPCC members in 2017 when MM Hasan was the KPCC president, would continue in the KPCC general body. Vacancies created due to the ill-health of leaders, resignations and defections to other parties will be filled up. In that case, only 40 fresh faces will become KPCC members.

But the grouse is that the majority of the KPCC members elected in 2017 belonged to the two dominant groups 'I' and `A'. But the general thinking is that if the leadership goes for a massive exercise of appointing fresh faces in the 280-member general body, it will dent the spirit of newfound unity forged during the time of the Thrikkakara bypolls.

It is likely that the list of KPCC members will be approved by the party high command within a week. Once the newly-constituted KPCC general body takes a decision on the next KPCC president, then the organisational polls will end up as mere formality to be held at the lower-level party forums for namesake.

As per the plan, all the MLAs and the DCC presidents will be included in the electoral college for the election of KPCC president post. Ex-DCC presidents, who are not members of the KPCC general body as of now, will also be accommodated in the electoral college. The rest of the vacancies will be filled up from among the youths, women and fresh faces.

Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala have reportedly given the names of their loyalists to be considered for the KPCC membership. The group leaders have warned the KPCC leadership that any sweeping changes in the existing list of KPCC members would scuttle the consensus process already set in motion ahead of the organisational polls.

The KPCC president is understood to have been unhappy with the performance of some of the DCC presidents. But it is pointed out that if Sudhakaran wants to continue as the KPCC president, a mere reshuffle of DCC presidents will not be practical.

But resentment is brewing in a section of the partymen against the reported move to appoint KPCC members based on group priorities. They allege that the old system of sharing posts based on group loyalties has come back and it goes against the declarations made at the party's Chintan Shivir held in Udaipur.

Pratapan raises dissenting voice

Thrissur MP and KPCC Political Affairs Committee member TN Prathapan sent a complaint to the AICC and the Congress Election Committee, alleging that attempt was on to fill the party posts on the basis of groups and this was against the decision taken at the Chintan Shivir.

He pointed out that it was not fair on the part of leaders to unilaterally pick up 280 KPCC members instead of allowing the holding of elections to the post of one KPCC member from 280 block committees.

Prathapan wanted the party to go in for the election of 50 percent of new faces to the party committees as per the decision of the Chintan Shivir.

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