Kasaragod: With the next Lok Sabha election on the horizon, Congress's Kasaragod MP Rajmohan Unnithan is facing a revolt from within the party.
On Friday, September 29, around 60 party workers led by local strongman from Cheemeni Karimbil Krishnan laid siege to the District Congress Committee (DCC) office in Kasaragod.
"Booth committee presidents, mandalam committee office-bearers, block committee members, and active party workers are here," said Karimbil Krishnan.
Their target was Unnithan. Karimbil accused Unnithan of using his clout within the party to place his nominee as the president of the Kayyur-Cheemeni mandalam committee of the party. Unnithan's nominee does not have the backing of the party workers and office-bearers from Cheemeni, he said.
He said the party in Cheemeni would not succumb to the pressure and threats from the MP and went on to allege that Unnithan used to verbally abuse party workers.
The party workers called off their protest after Congress state general secretary T U Radhakrishnan reportedly told them that the party state president K Sudhakaran would intervene in the matter.
Karimbil is a strongman in Kayyur-Cheemeni but the Congress as an organisation has very little presence in the panchayat. It is a bastion of the CPM. All 16 wards of the panchayat are with the LDF.
District Congress president P K Faisal said the mandalam presidents were not declared by the party and differences could be sorted out with talks.
But Unnithan batted on the front foot and said he would demand disciplinary action against Karimbil for making baseless allegations and defaming him and the party by going public with his grievance.
He said the party has instituted reconciliation committees in all 14 districts and they are responsible for picking block committee presidents and mandalam committee presidents through consensus.
In Kasaragod, the reconciliation committee headed by Congress state general secretary Sony Sebastian unanimously selected presidents for 40 of the 42 mandalam committees.
"The reconciliation committee could not agree on only two mandalam and they were referred to the KPCC," said Unnithan, a member of the reconciliation committee.
There was no dispute over the selection of Kayyur-Cheemeni mandalam committee president. "I did not interfere or intervene. Karimbil could have checked with General Secretary Sony Sebastian or the DCC president," he said.
He said the incumbent president was a former employee of the Water Authority and did little to lift the prospects of the party in Kayyur-Cheemeni. "If he does not agree with the decision of the district reconciliation committee, he can go to the state committee. Then there is the party president. He cannot come to the party office and create a show for the media," he said and hinted that the CPM could be behind Karimbil's decision to go public with his protest. "I will strongly ask for action against Karimbil Krishnan for anti-party activities," he said.