KPCC president K. Sudhakaran asks Congress party workers in Kerala to close ranks

By Special Correspondent

Newly appointed District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents convened for a leadership training camp against the verdant backdrop of the Neyyar Dam in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Wednesday, days after the contentious nomination of party office-bearers threatened to deepen fissures in the Congress in Kerala.

The bitter inner-party wrangling saw senior leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, who head the traditional ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups respectively, pitting their wits against the emergent official group led by Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K. Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan.

Temporary truce

Nevertheless, the four leaders shared the stage in an atmosphere of open friendliness at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute if Development Studies overlooking the reservoir, signalling a temporary easing of hostilities. Mr. Sudhakaran and Mr. Satheesan appeared to have achieved a détente to some measure by reaching out to the veterans.

Mr. Satheesan and Mr. Sudhakaran reportedly promised to consult Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala more closely on organisational matters and drop the "no group-only party" mantra.

The "old guard" had complained that the incumbent KPCC leadership had kept them in the dark about DCC reorganisation and arbitrarily appointed the DCC chiefs to banish the established A and I factions to organisational irrelevance.

Mr. Sudhakaran pointedly urged Congress workers to close ranks against those who sought to weaken the party by creating divisions. Congress workers are not a gagged group. Nevertheless, they should confine their criticism within the party and not provide ammunition for enemies.

Roadmap for rejig

Mr. Sudhakaran also laid out the roadmap for future reorganisation. The Congress is going through a transformational phase. It is on the path to emerge as a powerful semi-cadre party. Already, micro-units are at work at the neighbourhood level to woo people back to the Congress fold, he said.

Leaders said that the CPI(M) and the BJP are in cahoots with each other in the State to undermine the Congress. The stasis in the investigation in the gold smuggling case and the reluctance of the State police to prosecute BJP State president K. Surendran in the Kodakara hawala heist case are proof of the quid pro quo. Hence, the Congress should gird itself to fight a two-pronged battle to woo people away from the Left and the BJP.

Congress working presidents Kodikunnil Suresh, P.T. Thomas, MLA, and T. Siddique, MLA, were among those present.

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