Kerala

Factionalism in Congress hits a new low

A.V. Gopinath, Former MLA and Congress strongman in Palakkad district, announcing his resignation from the party’s primary membership at a press conference in Palakkad on Monday.  

Factionalism within the Congress in the State hit a new low on Monday with party veteran, A. V. Gopinath from Palakkad, quitting the organisation amidst intense speculation that more disgruntled leaders would follow suit.

Mr. Gopinath’s departure capped a long line of disagreements between ‘A’ and ‘I’ group factions and the official Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) leadership over the selection of District Congress Committee presidents.

Mr. Gopinath’s resignation has come as a propaganda win for the CPI(M). He praised Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and hinted that he was not inimical to the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Facebook post

A social media post by Congress leader Anil Akkara purportedly mocking Mr. Gopinath for his “overtures” to Mr. Vijayan seemed to have catalysed the latter’s decision to quit.

KPCC president K. Sudhakaran chided Mr. Akkara for the Facebook post and expressed optimism that Mr. Gopinath would reverse his decision.

Mr. Sudhakaran appeared to walk a tight line between imposing party discipline and keeping the rank and file within the party fold.

Notably, the KPCC expelled P. S. Prasanth from the party. The leader from Nedumangad had raised the flag of rebellion by “disparaging” All India Congress Committee general secretary (organisation) K. C. Venugopal in a letter to Rahul Gandhi.

A party insider said the KPCC had received information that Mr. Prasanth would defect to the LDF. He said the expulsion was a pre-emptive move.

Tussle continues

Meanwhile, top group leaders engaged the KPCC leadership in a publicised tussle over DCC reorganisation for the second consecutive day.

‘A’ group leader Oommen Chandy blamed Mr. Sudhakaran for disclosing the contemporaneous notes the latter had taken during their close door discussions about party reorganisation.

‘I’ group leader Joseph Vazhakkan blamed the KPCC leadership for keeping senior leaders out of decision-making.

The Congress also witnessed an assumed realignment of loyalties. Media outlets claimed Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, K. Muraleedharan, P.T. Thomas, T. Siddique, and Sooranadu Rajasekharan had shed their respective group identities and aligned themselves with the KPCC leadership.

With more organisational posts up for grabs at the district and State levels, the traditional ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups were fighting the KPCC leadership to insert their loyalties in key positions.

The factions seemed aligned against “the emergent axis of power” ostensibly led by Mr. Venugopal, Mr. Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 5:53:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/factionalism-in-congress-hits-a-new-low/article36187822.ece

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