Chandy and Thankachan cancel New Delhi trip

The discussion to revamp the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) remains deadlocked following differences of opinion between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala over sharing of various posts for their respective factions in the State unit of the party.

Mr. Chandy and UDF convener P.P. Thankachan who had been scheduled to leave for New Delhi on Monday, along with Mr. Chennithala, for a final round of discussion with the party high command in connection with the reconstitution are understood to have cancelled their visit. Mr. Chennithala will now confine his Delhi itinerary to private matters, according to sources close to him.

The differences are mainly centred on the various District Congress Committees, especially that of Kannur and Thrissur.

Earlier, it was expected that the official list would most probably be announced before Onam after getting the approval of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Earlier, Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala held a round of discussion with senior leaders, including former KPCC presidents C.V. Padmarajan, Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, and K. Muraleedharan. The two leaders also heard V.M. Sudheeran and few Members of Parliament and other leaders, with Mr. Sudheeran turning out to be the sole voice of dissent against going in for the reconstitution of the Congress party on factional lines. However, it has become certain that the revamp process would lead to the official recognition of two factions led by Chandy and Chennithala for the first time in the last seven years.

DCC posts to be shared

The two factions are set to share the posts of 14 DCCs, while accommodating prominent supporters of Vayalar Ravi, Padmaja Venugopal, and Mr. Muraleedharan in the KPCC either as general secretaries or secretaries.

A final agreement is yet to be thrashed out on the number of general secretaries and secretaries, but the State leadership would most probably utilise the numbers to ensure adequate accommodation for various leaders.

One of the main challenges before the Congress leadership is to address the communal equations by providing more political space for leaders from the majority community, with a distinct tilt at ensuring adequate representation for backward class communities. Addressing the communal equations has become an important political imperative for the Congress party in the aftermath of the controversy over the induction of the fifth Minister of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in the Chandy Cabinet. The Chief Minister barely got away from the controversy by tinkering with portfolios of Congress ministers by handing over his Home portfolio to his close confidante Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. The exercise, however, could not conceal the general restiveness in the party and the UDF over the over-representation for minority communities.

Another challenge before the State leadership is to provide a fair accommodation to Congress leaders belonging to the Muslim community, without losing its initiative in addressing issues related to majority communities.

The State leadership would also have to take care of younger leaders who have graduated from the Youth Congress and have been waiting in the wings for openings. Leaders belonging to at least three former State committees need to be provided space.