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Updated: February 6, 2013 10:02 IST

He breathed fire against Congress infighting, but now goes cold

G. Krishnakumar
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Sebastian Paul said Mr. Kurien was close to the high command and the Congress leadership would hence try to shield him.

From a sweeping indictment of the Congress groups, P.J. Kurien has whittled down his enemies to “just one or two” in the party who he thinks are working against him.

Asked whether there was an attempt from within the Congress to thwart his electoral ambitions, especially in view of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 by raking up the Suryanelli issue, Mr. Kurien told the Hindu on Tuesday the party was fully with him. He was also quick to point out that it would not make much of an impact even though one or two may be against him in the party.

He is considered as senior Congress leader A. K. Antony’s lieutenant from the beginning. Mr. Kurien, say political observers, has been able to save his skin by manoeuvring tactfully among the Congress groups slugging each other, thanks to his closeness to the Congress High Command. A. Jayasankar, advocate and political commentator, recalled that Mr. Kurien was originally part of the Congress (A) group led by Mr. Antony.

“Kurien is Antony’s trusted man. He is not in good terms with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. But is a well-wisher of KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala and a close friend of NSS General Secretary G. Sukumaran Nair,” he said.

Recalling that Mr. Kurien had immediately contested Mr. Chandy’s claims that there was no understanding between the NSS and the AICC over the cabinet berth for Mr. Chennithala, Mr. Jayasankar said Congress (I) group leaders were running to television channels to support Mr. Kurien’s arguments in the Suryanelli case.

Sebastian Paul, former MP and media critic, said Mr. Kurien was close to the high command and the Congress leadership would hence try to shield him.

“The State leadership will not stand against the wishes of the high command by speaking against Mr. Kurien at this juncture,” he said.

In Pathanamthitta, Congress workers admitted that Mr. Kurien still was the kingmaker and he remains powerful and above the Congress ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups.

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