Kerala

Cong. sees CPI(M) move to engineer defections

The Congress has reportedly moved to counter an “organised move” on the part of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] to engineer defections from the party to score a propaganda victory over the United Democratic Front (UDF) ahead of the Assembly polls.

The party is also eyeing the dissensions in the Left Democratic Front (LDF) with intense political intent.

The Congress leadership has opened negotiations with party veteran K.V. Thomas, who had threatened to jump ship. The CPI(M) had pointedly stated it was not opposed to accommodating Mr. Thomas.

Press meet called off

In Kochi, Mr. Thomas told reporters that he was meeting the Congress leadership soon and cancelled the press conference he had scheduled for Saturday.

The Congress also seemed poised to set in motion a process that will hopefully jump-start the arguably torpid organisational apparatus into an electoral battle machine.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will chair the first meeting of the newly formed election management and strategy committee (EMSC) on Saturday.

The All India Congress Committee (AICC) had tapped Mr. Chandy to head the EMSC given his protracted innings in State politics and long-standing bonds with social organisations and community leaders.

Collective leadership

However, the AICC has insisted on collective leadership during the election campaign. It has pointedly not named any person as the potential leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) to fend off the possibility of an intra-party power struggle in the run-up to the polls.

Moreover, the AICC wants the State unit to preserve unity amongst the rank and file and discourage personality politics-oriented factionalism.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran will preside over the meeting. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, UDF convener M.M. Hassan and AICC general secretaries K.C. Venugopal and Tariq Anwar will attend the meeting.

The deliberations are close door. The attendees are likely to hammer out a template for candidate selection.

The AICC had reportedly frowned on the custom of apportioning Assembly seats to competing party factions. Instead, it has insisted that the party allocate seats only to candidates who stood a good chance of securing a win at the hustings.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 4:01:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cong-sees-cpim-move-to-engineer-defections/article33638617.ece

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