Infighting intensifies as groups get active
The Congress unit in Kerala appeared engulfed in a potentially incapacitating feud on a scale rarely seen in recent years. The latest round of infighting in the party is the political fallout of the contentious nomination of District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents.
Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, the ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups leaders respectively, have aired their misgivings about the appointments. They said they had no role in the reorganisation.
Mr. Chandy said the reorganisation would have transpired in a better atmosphere had the KPCC leadership consulted everybody. “My name was dragged into a process in which I had no say,” he said.
Mr. Chennithala echoed a similar sentiment. He said keeping everybody in the loop would have ensured a smooth transition of power at the DCC level. Groups were an undeniable reality in the party, he said.
The DCC reorganisation seemed to have exacerbated the factional divisions in the party and raised questions about whether the fragile unity forged by the party high command would hold.
For one, ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups were miffed that the KPCC had suspended senior leaders K.P. Anil Kumar and K. Sivadasan Nair from the organisation for pointing out the DCC postings were arbitrary and imposed from above without factoring in the ground reality.
The groups viewed the disciplinary action as the latest in factional manoeuvring by the emergent ‘K.C.Venugopal’ clique in the Congress. They perceived a move to marginalise ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups and relegate Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala to organisational irrelevance.
The group managers alleged that the up-and-coming axis of power had KPCC president K. Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan, among others, as its prime backers.
Mr. Venugopal is the AICC general secretary in charge of the organisation. The three leaders have repeatedly claimed they were above factional politics. They had declared that their mandate was solely that of the Congress high command.
Mr. Satheesan said group politics could not hold party reorganisation to ransom any more. The AICC’s list of DCC presidents had released the party from the mould of group loyalties. It emphasised merit. No two leaders could apportion party posts between themselves forever, he said.
Mr. Sudhakaran also seemed to share Mr. Satheesan’s resolve to take factionalism head-on. He criticised Mr. Chandy for the ‘painful remark’ and dug his heels in on abiding by the AICC’s diktat.
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