Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 15 : Senior Congress leaders of Kerala, including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and former Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala are likely to brief Rahul Gandhi on state unit President K. Sudhakaran “cold-shouldering” them in finalising the list of District Congress Committee (DCC) chiefs.
Gandhi, the former Congress President and current MP from the state’s Wayanad, will be on a three-day visit to his constituency from Monday.
The Congress high command has said that it won’t budge on the pressure exerted by senior leaders in the postings of new DCC Presidents in all the fourteen districts of the state.
A senior office bearer, who is privy to the developments, told IANS on Sunday: “This is the best time for the Congress high command to put an end to factionalism in the state Congress. The party high command is taking the state Congress chief along with his team of Working Presidents into confidence. The state Congress chief has already presented a list of DCC Presidents to be chosen by the party high command and we will go ahead with that.”
Chandy who is heading the “A” group of the state Congress and Ramesh Chenntihala who is heading the “I” group had complained to the party high command that they were not taken into confidence by Sudhakaran before shortlisting the names of candidates for DCC presidents.
Chennthala was the opposition leader from 2016 to 2021 in the state assembly and in his place V.D. Satheesan has been appointed without consulting Chennithala and Chandy. Both leaders had incidentally set aside their differences and had proposed the name of Chennithala as a unanimous choice. However, the high command had other ideas and replaced Chennithala with Satheesan who is much junior in the state politics.
After the drubbing in the 2021 Assembly polls, it was certain that the axe would fall on the state Congress Chief, Mullappally Ramachandran and he was replaced by the strongman from Kannur, Sudhakaran.
The party high command along with the senior leaders of Kerala had decided that it needs a total revamp of the state Congress unit and as a prelude to this, the DCC Presidents were to be appointed and a list of probable candidates was handed over to the party national leadership.
Chandy and Chennithala are sulking over the fact that the state Congress chief did not inform them that the list was being handed over to the party high command.
The senior leaders had wanted their own people to be put in crucial positions and the high command has openly said that this would not happen.
The state Congress which is nursing its wounds from the heavy drubbing it received during the assembly elections may have to face another major issue if the list of DCC Presidents is declared without final consent from the senior leaders.
Meanwhile, Ramachandran, K . Muraleedharan and V.M. Sudheeran also came out in the open that they were not consulted before the final list was prepared.
Muraleedharan, Member of Parliament and former state unit President told IANS: “The state Congress has the potential to move ahead and to defeat the CPM-led Left Front, the final list of DCC presidents should have been presented to the high command in consultation with all concerned. Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chenntihala are senior leaders who had contributed immensely to the growth of Congress in Kerala.”
Sudhakaran has started fire fighting exercise and has already met the former state chief V.M. Sudheeran at the latter’s residence in a bid to pacify the sulking leader who had come out in the open that he was not consulted before the list was sent to New Delhi.
With the Congress high command adamant to put an end to the factionalism in the state Congress, it seems that the the KPCC president will have his way and the list he had presented to New Delhi is likely to be considered by the high command without much change.