Rift wide open: Satheesan, Hassan absent as Sudhakaran assumes charge in low-key event

K Sudhakaran
K Sudhakaran. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: K Sudhakaran on Wednesday returned as the president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) in a low-key event which exposed the ongoing rift within the party’s state unit.
Sudhakaran came back as the party state chief after he had vacated the post to concentrate on poll campaigning in the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency where he sought re-election. Senior leader MM Hassan, who was made acting president when Sudhakaran took leave, stayed away from the occasion of the latter taking back his office. 

Sudhakaran took charge after visiting Congress veteran AK Antony at his home here. He was supposed to return to the post on Sunday, but it got delayed by a few days due to reported opposition from a section within the party. On Tuesday, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) issued a directive ending speculations over the delay in reinstatement of Sudhakaran. 
“This is not any power handing over ceremony. It’s just a political process. I’m here today because of the AICC decision,” Sudhakaran told media after taking back the KPCC president post. He did not hide his disappointment over top leaders of the party skipping the occasion.

“Hassan should have been here I think,” he said. Asked about Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan who also stayed away, Sudhakaran said: “Isn’t he a versatile genius? He has many other commitments.”
Asked about the previous similar instance where Thalekkunnil Basheer, who was made acting president for the then PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala to focus on electioneering, vacated the post the next day after the polling, Sudhakaran said “it depends on the personality of different people.” 
Though he termed Hassan’s work as acting KPCC president satisfactory, Sudhakaran said he would look into whether some of the decisions the latter took need to be reconsidered. It has been alleged that Hassan took back some party leaders who were facing disciplinary action without consultations within the party.

Though Sudhakaran was reluctant to contest the Lok Sabha polls, the national leadership fielded him in Kannur to defend the seat. Sudhakaran’s stand was that he did not want to occupy both the posts. When he was reminded about this and asked whether he would stick to his stand if he won the election, he said he would think about it and take a decision. 
In the April 26 polling, Sudhakaran faced CPM veteran MV Jayarajan and BJP’s C Raghunath who was once his close confidant. 

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