Mullappally also in the ‘reckoning’

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran on Tuesday pointedly declined to scotch or validate widespread speculation that he would contest the coming Assembly elections.

Mr. Ramachandran’s caginess about the issue of his candidacy appeared to lend credence to the theory that he would also be in the reckoning for the leadership of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) alongside former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala after the polls.

Certain quarters in the Congress indicated that the All India Congress Committee (AICC) was keen on having Mr. Ramachandran on the party ticket from Kalpetta in Wayanad. The reports also fuelled theories about an upcoming change in the KPCC leadership.

When pressed, Mr. Ramachandran told journalists that he had always bowed to the diktat of the AICC. The national leadership would decide “who would lead the party”, he said.

Leadership question

Mr. Ramachandran’s possible entry into the electoral fray appeared to add a new dimension to the question of the future leadership of the CLP. Some leaders felt that Mr. Ramachandran could be a dark horse for the mantle.

The AICC had recently tapped Mr. Chandy to head the electoral campaign. It was keen on the Congress presenting a united face to the electorate. However, some Congress insiders said they perceived distant rumblings of dissent in the party already.

Some sections felt the party had sidelined Mr. Chennithala and undervalued his role in bringing the government to heel on a whole range of issues, including gold smuggling and corruption. Mr. Chennithala had dismissed the rumours publicly. He echoed Mr. Ramachandran and Mr. Chandy and reiterated the AICC would settle the leadership question.

Leaders sceptic

Few leaders had also expressed scepticism about the rationale of leaving the question of CLP leadership open-ended.

In stark contrast, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) had made it abundantly clear that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would lead the coalition into the thick of the impending electoral battle.

By one account, the AICC has reportedly accorded a prominent role to Shashi Tharoor, MP, in devising an electoral strategy to bring apolitical votes to the Congress fold. The party felt Mr. Tharoor could use his considerable social media clout to reach out to students and young professionals.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 4:25:30 PM |

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