Fissures in Congress in Thripunithura out in the open

Fissures within the Congress in Thripunithura that had rumbled below the surface for long have come out in the open.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) Assembly constituency committee that met on Thursday for post-election stocktaking unanimously passed a resolution demanding the ouster of Congress ‘I’ faction leader A.B. Sabu on disciplinary grounds. The meeting, attended among others by UDF candidate from Thripunithura K. Babu, accused Mr. Sabu of having sabotaged the UDF’s prospects during the campaign.

“He held two press conferences, the latest just two days before the election, painting Mr. Babu as corrupt and declaring the contest to be between the BJP and the LDF. We even have voice clips of his phone calls campaigning against us. We will move the resolution before the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), which will issue notice to him,” said Babu Antony, chairman, UDF Thripunithura Assembly constituency committee. KPCC working president K.V. Thomas, however, said that he was not aware of the developments.

Mr. Sabu, on his part, has countered the move accusing Mr. Babu of helping the LDF State leadership raise the spectre of vote trade between the BJP and the Congress by publicly staking claim to BJP votes. “That led to the consolidation of minority votes further damaging the prospects of the UDF. If anything, action should be taken against the UDF candidate,” said Mr. Sabu who is about to move an official complaint before the KPCC against Mr. Babu.

When Mr. Babu’s candidature looked imminent, Mr. Sabu had publicly stated that the candidate being considered was corrupt and hence incompatible with the guidelines of the KPCC and the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

Congress sources said that Mr. Sabu had been aspiring to contest from Thripunithura for long but had failed to break through Mr. Babu’s vice-like grip on local party machinery, which rose in revolt for him, forcing the party to field him. “The fact is that he [Sabu] might still have been denied even if Mr. Babu was not to contest, as former Mayor Soumini Jain was the front runner in such an event. Though he owes his allegiance to the ‘I’ faction, no senior leader is out there to fight his battle,” party insider sources said.

It fleetingly appeared that Mr. Sabu might eventually get the opportunity when ahead of the 2016 Assembly election, then KPCC chief V.M. Sudheeran had said that tainted persons should not contest. But eventually, Mr. Babu prevailed though he lost the election.

The rumblings in the Congress emerged just hours after the BJP had to clarify that the poster campaign against its municipal committee member in Thripunithura and a former Congressman Muraleedharan S.J. for allegedly being in cahoots with his former party during the campaign was baseless.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 9:08:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fissures-in-congress-in-thripunithura-out-in-the-open/article34282714.ece

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