Despite securing a handsome victory in the recent civic polls, the Congress is finding itself in an embarrassing situation with domestic fights turning ugly and spilling out onto the streets.
The in-fighting, which resulted in the Ambalapuzha north grama panchayat going to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) despite the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) winning a majority there, has led senior leaders to come out into the open against the District Congress Committee leadership. They have also written to KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala and Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy. The issue had begun before the polls, when selection of candidates by the DCC in the Alappuzha municipality went awry. Rebel Congress candidates won more votes than the official UDF candidates in 10 wards and caused their defeat in two wards.
The victory of one such rebel, M.G. Sathidevi from the Mullakal ward, added to the embarrassment when she became crucial for the UDF to draw equal with the LDF, and for a toss to decide who would head the municipality. However, the DCC failed to woo back Ms. Sathidevi, and the LDF went on to take over the reins of the municipality.
In Ambalapuzha north panchayat, where the UDF had won a majority for the first time in 40 years, the DCC faltered again as its selection for panchayat president was not accepted by six out of 11 members.
With the DCC remaining adamant, two members abstained from voting, four supported a CPI (M) rebel, who with the LDF's support became president.
The fighting only got worse when the DCC's selection for the municipal parliamentary party leader was also questioned.
Now, with the DCC recommending action against four persons, including three councillors for instigating the violence, senior leaders, including K.S. Vasudeva Sharma, who was Mr. Chandy's political secretary when he was Chief Minister, P.C. Vishnunath and M. Murali, MLAs, UDF district chairman C.R. Jayaprakash and others have written to Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala, accusing DCC president A.A. Shukoor, MLA, of partisanship and of seeking personal revenge apart from supporting factional elements in the party.
Rebel candidates won more votes than the official UDF candidates in 10 wards.