She wants the party to think about a political future outside UDF

The life of K.R. Gouri, the most prominent woman in the State's politics even at the age of 91, has always been turbulent, and on Sunday, the veteran politician, along with her 16-year-old party, is about to face yet another acid test.

The Janadhipathya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS), founded by Ms. Gouri after she was expelled from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1994, has been going through a chaotic period over the last seven months, particularly after Ms. Gouri hit out openly against the United Democratic Front (UDF) of which her party has been an ingredient from its inception.

Ms. Gouri's contention is that the Congress is trying to bully her party into toeing its whims and that it has masterminded the recent poll debacle of the JSS by supporting rebel candidates. Her arguments have got stronger after Congress rebels played decisive roles in the failure of JSS candidates during the October local body polls. With the Congress's efforts to sort out the differences not bearing fruit and Ms. Gouri repeatedly making it evident that she has mentally distanced herself from the UDF, the JSS is now at a crossroads.

The party's future, whether it will continue with the UDF as a single unit or as a disintegrated outfit if Ms. Gouri decides to take the extreme stand, will be known on Sunday as the JSS convenes its party plenum here. A recent State committee meeting of the party had seen Ms. Gouri vociferously demanding that the JSS think about a political future outside the UDF. The veteran, according to her close supporters, has not changed her stance.

However, several of JSS's other known names, including K.K. Shaju, MLA, and party president A.N. Rajan Babu, along with their supporters, are said to have decided to stay put in the UDF. And the discord is set to dominate Sunday's plenum.

Ms. Gouri has been going around meeting grassroots-level cadre, feeling their pulse apart from drumming up support for her stance. Meanwhile, television channels have been airing stories on the probability of Ms. Gouri returning to the CPI(M) folds, based on her recent meetings with CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and Central committee member T.M. Thomas Isaac.

Though a final decision is unlikely on Sunday itself, the debates in the plenum will decide whether JSS will continue in its present configuration.

  • K.K. Shaju and supporters to stay put in UDF
  • Gouri going around meeting party cadre