Kerala: Revolt in Congress over DCC list; senior leader resigns
Infighting has intensified in Congress' Kerala unit following the appointment of 14 new district Congress Committee chiefs. The appointments have made differences within the Kerala unit more visible as a section of party leaders has launched an open revolt against the present state leadership. Amidst the chaos, senior leader AV Gopinathan quit the party, saying that he has lost faith in the party leadership.
While announcing his resignation, Gopinathan said, "I have been with the party for almost 50 years. I have lost all hope now. So there is no point in remaining in it." Gopinathan has reportedly been upset with the party since he was denied an assembly seat in the last election. At that time, party leadership reportedly promised him a party post to pacify him.
Gopinathan's resignation came a day after two senior leaders of the party—K Sivadasan Nair and AP Anil Kumar—were suspended for criticizing the party publicly. Both leaders were also served show-cause notices on Monday. Further, Congress' central leadership has asked former CM Oommen Chandy and senior leader Ramesh Chennithala to accept the list. Notably, both the leaders have publicly expressed their discontent with the list.
In an unprecedented reaction to the list, ex-CM Chandy revealed the names he suggested for appointments. "There was no discussion...I was asked to suggest a panel...hence, I gave three names. But after that, there was no information on who has been finalized in Kottayam."
While most leaders targeted PCC chief K Sudhakaran and Opposition leader VD Satheesan, they maintained that enough discussions had been held within the party. Cornering Chandy and Chennithala, Satheesan made it clear that they are not going to abide by their wishes. "Did they discuss with AK Anthony and K Karunakaran, when they took over the reign from them?"
Satheesan further said, "If the 14 district president posts are to be distributed among those recommended by these two leaders, then what is the point in me and Sudhakaran occupying these party positions? It used to be the practice earlier but not anymore."
Sudhakaran claimed that the list was approved after discussing with both state in-charge Tariq Anwar and Rahul Gandhi. However, some supporters of Chandy such as PT Thomas have asked party members to bury their differences and go by the list approved by the party high command. Meanwhile, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has banned its leader from discussing the matter on television.
Taking a dig at state leadership, Chennithala said, "People who used to be group managers and have openly revolted in the party are now talking about groups. Such people opposing groups after they got party positions is the new trend."