An estimated 310 Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) general body members will meet on Thursday to set in motion an organisational process that will select the new State office-bearers, notably the party's next State president.
If there are no surprise upsets, the meeting will, in all probability, endorse the incumbent K. Sudhakaran as KPCC president. The KPCC has asked the members to report at the party's State headquarters at Indira Bhavan. The make-up of the electoral college is yet to emerge in the public domain.
By some accounts, the KPCC will send its endorsements to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and entrust Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take a final call. Balloting and an immediate formal announcement of the office-bearers are doubtful.
The general body will convene inside the Rajiv Gandhi auditorium. The meeting is a closed-door affair and not open to the media. The general body will also pick KPCC office-bearers, working committee members, All India Congress Committee members and the KPCC election committee.
If party precedence prevails, it will send its recommendations to the AICC for approval. Any formal announcement is likely from the AICC headquarters in New Delhi. The electoral college has 77 new faces. The Congress block committees typically represent Assembly constituencies. As many as 285 delegates represent the block committees.
The party has two or more block committees in specific Assembly segments. Senior leaders and parliamentary party members are also members of the KPCC general body.
The Congress reportedly strived to achieve a consensus before the general body meeting. It has endeavoured to ensure competency and social balance in selecting office-bearers. Caste, communal, gender and age demographics are also likely to inform the KPCC's office-bearer choices.
A party insider dismissed reports that various party factions had tried to stack the electoral college with their loyalists. He said the general body was likely to be rancour-free.
Another party person said the Congress could ill-afford a contentious organisational election that would leave the party fractured, given the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. Such a fratricidal fight would erode the electorate's confidence in the Congress as a cohesive unit potent enough to offer battle to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre and the CPI(M) in Kerala.
Much was at stake for the KPCC, given the tide of defections in other States. He claimed the presence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Kerala was a unifying factor. Moreover, senior leaders had reportedly achieved a rare synergy in the run-up to Mr. Gandhi's Bharath Jodo Yatra.