Congress braces itself for a post-election reckoning

Vattiyurkavu poster issue acts as trigger

April 11, 2021 11:21 pm | Updated 11:21 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Congress appeared to have braced itself for a post-election reckoning.

Its leaders were confident of a win. Nevertheless, a few Congress insiders said there was a growing realisation within the party that the campaign had run into trouble in at least a few key constituencies.

They pointed out the Vattiyurkavu segment in Thiruvananthapuram as a classic example of the alleged inner-party electoral dysfunction.

The Congress campaign in the segment had arguably floundered at its final phase. The state of affairs aggrieved Congress candidate Veena V. Nair. According to party sources, Ms. Nair had fought an uphill battle against a well-entrenched CPI(M) election machinery.

Ms. Nair often found she lacked the kind of organisational support that her primary opponents, V. K. Prasanth of the LDF and V. V. Rajesh of the BJP, took for granted.

Soon, Ms. Nair’s campaign managers recovered costly electioneering material from a wastepaper shop.

The discovery was a propaganda disaster for the Congress and reportedly the last straw for the candidate. It appeared that Congress workers had sold the freshly printed posters for paper value instead of using them for Ms. Nair’s electioneering.

Complaint registered

The candidate has complained to KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran. She reportedly stated that campaign managers had failed to bolster her pitch to voters. Ms. Nair, arguably, fought a lonely battle aided only by a set of dedicated Congress workers. Organisational support was reportedly not forthcoming as anticipated.

Mr. Ramachandran said Ms. Nair’s complaint had merit. The KPCC had taken the matter seriously. It has appointed a three-member committee to investigate the allegations and file a report. “The guilty would have no place in the Congress,” Mr. Ramachandran said.

The party had fought the Assembly polls with relatively lesser financial resources compared to the LDF and the NDA. The Candidates and the party had struggled to finance the campaign. The callousness of conducting the campaign in Vattiyurkavu would not go unpunished, he said.

A party insider said Ms. Nair’s complaint was just the tip of the iceberg. More similar complaints were trickling in from other regions.

The Congress had not lacked in election preparations. It had reconstituted 19,500 ward-level election committees. A galaxy of top national-level Congress leaders had monitored the campaigning.

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