Chandy meets Sonia on party restructuring

He seeks independent commission to examine disciplinary action initiated against leaders

November 17, 2021 08:53 pm | Updated 08:53 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The latest episode in the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee's seemingly unending factional feud unfolded in New Delhi on Wednesday.

All India Congress Committee general secretary and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to "express his dissatisfaction" with the KPCC leadership's alleged attempt to disrupt the time-honoured procedure for conducting organisational elections. An ‘A’ group insider said Mr. Chandy was vehemently opposed to reorganising the party in the run-up to the upcoming organisational elections.

He said the ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups perceived a bid by KPCC president K. Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan to control the party's governance structures by arbitrarily placing their nominees in critical posts. AICC general secretary, organisation, K. C. Venugopal, allegedly backed them tacitly. The factions felt the triad had exploited the AICC's mandate for reorganisation to gain an organisational upper hand and stack the decks in their favour ahead of the KPCC elections.

PAC role

Sources said Mr. Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, who purportedly heads the ‘I’ group, sensed a concerted bid by Mr. Satheesan and Mr. Sudhakaran to confine the KPCC's political affairs committee (PAC) to an advisory role. Moreover, the factions felt the two leaders had shifted the centre of gravity of organisational power to the restructured KPCC executive, where they ostensibly have more traction than in the PAC.

Mr. Chandy also reportedly requested Ms. Gandhi to establish an independent commission to examine disciplinary action initiated against leaders and stop the "skewed" application of the party rule book in organisational matters.

Party veterans V. M. Sudheeran and Mullappally Ramachandran had also hinted that the recent KPCC restructuring "sans consultations" was tantamount to an anti-democratic stitch-up to advantage the incumbent leadership in the upcoming organisational polls.

The AICC has to walk a political tightrope, forge compromises and perhaps make rule changes to prevent the intra-party dispute from reaching a significant flashpoint. AICC general secretary in charge of Kerala Tariq Anwar is scheduled to arrive in Kerala soon.

The hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in the KPCC has irked a sizeable section of party workers who felt it would blight the party's prospects. Several were planning to petition the AICC in the matter.

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