Kerala

Congress at a crucial juncture in Kottayam

Nattakom Suresh, the newly appointed president of the District Congress Committee (DCC) in Kottayam, is set to assume office on Friday. At a brief function to be held at the DCC office in the morning, Mr. Suresh will take charge in the presence of senior leaders and office-bearers of the party’s State and local leadership.

While common wisdom would suggest that Mr. Suresh — a loyalist of the ‘A’ group led by Oommen Chandy — was a natural choice to lead, the situation on the ground tells a different story.

According to sources, the selection of Mr.Suresh with the backing of Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, another veteran Congress leader in Kottayam, appears to have triggered a major change in the group equations. The emergence of this new power axis, ostensibly with the support of the State leadership, appears to have created a vertical divide in the ‘A’ group in Kottayam.

Mr.Chandy, on the other hand, stands unhappy and desolate, as evident from the lack of support from the district Congress unit for his remarks against the selection of new DCC presidents.

Mr. Suresh, however, firmly believes that a stable coordination can conceal a lot of volatility on the top. Having got wind of the mood in the Oommen Chandy camp, he has already reached out to leaders personally and begun efforts to patch up the differences.

“As a politician who started his career under the shade of Oommen Chandy, I have no doubts about his support to me. Indeed, I have been supported by all senior leaders irrespective of group preferences,” he told mediapersons.

His assumption of office also assumes significance against the backdrop of back-to-back setbacks suffered by the Congress-led coalition in the local body and Assembly elections. Long regarded as a bastion of the Congress, the party is now facing a tough challenge here, especially after long-time associate Kerala Congress (M) switched sides to the rival Left Democratic Front.

As the Congress under the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president plans to re-haul itself on a semi-cadre line, Mr.Suresh has his tasks cut out. “Strengthening feeder organisations, ensuring party discipline, and restoring the dominance of the Congress in Kottayam are some of these,” observed a senior Congress leader.


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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 1:54:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/congress-at-a-crucial-juncture-in-kottayam/article36256596.ece

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