Formula to be ready by August 21
The Congress high command is understood to have given an ultimatum to the party’s State leadership to come up with its formula for reconstitution of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and the District Congress Committees (DCCs) by August 21.
The message was conveyed to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala during their discussions with the party high command in New Delhi recently. The high command has come around to the conclusion that it would not do any good for the State unit to defer the reconstitution process, which has got bogged down yet again over the claims of various sections. The two leaders have been reportedly asked to complete the discussions with other senior leaders and finalise the formula and the list of office-bearers of the DCCs and the KPCC.
According to party sources, the Chandy and Chennithala factions would henceforth be the official factions and would share the various posts equally. The tussle is obviously for the posts of DCC presidents and the districts to be cornered, depending on the relative strengths of the factions. Sources pointed out that supporters of Union Minister Vayalar Ravi would have to be satisfied with accommodation in the KPCC as office-bearers.
Sources expect differences to crop up over the Kannur DCC as both the factions have staked their claims to it owing to the psychological advantage they would get in a district where the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is unassailable in electoral politics in quite a few constituencies. The party leaders would have to identify and promote leaders who would be capable of carrying the fight into the CPI(M) camp not only in Kannur, but also in other districts in Malabar. There are indications that the Chandy group is likely to get Kasaragod, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kottayam, Idukki, and Pathanamthitta, while the Chennithala group would get Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, and Wayanad.
It is possible that Mr. Chennithala might give up one of the districts in order to corner Kannur. The State leadership has two options before them: either to go for a total overhaul of the DCCs and induct entirely new faces or adopt a pick-and-choose policy, which would leverage the factional preferences, sources said.
However, a clear picture would emerge only when Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala hold the promised discussions with senior leaders, most probably this week itself.