When V M Sudheeran, for long an outsider, confined to criticising the functioning of the party and the establishment, was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi to lead the Congress in Kerala, the role clearly defined for him was that of a gamechanger.
He may not be a crowd puller, but as a non-controversial person and not being part of the rabid groupism hereditary to the state party unit, Sudheeran has a unique space in the party and among the public.
He is destined to change the age-old rules in the state Congress centered around Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala and take command of Congress poll campaign.
The public perception that Sudheeran may be able to change things in the state Congress and influence the forward course of the UDF Government is profound, albeit on a slow pace.
He was handpicked by the Congress high command to clean up the group ridden state unit, even when his choice didn’t go well with the main ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups.
The new found activism in the Congress under his leadership will prove to be a propelling factor, when the UDF is racing towards the LS polls. The question of activating the grassroots-level rank and file may be time consuming for Sudheeran, but he has seen to it that all group lords in the party have become accountable and stood united, a measure which is bound to help the Congress in a big way if the results of the polls are favourable.
He is known as a man of discussions and consensus, a line which had enabled him to prevail over the pulls and pressures of groups in the party.
He has taken the initiative to take coalition partners in the UDF and members in various Congress forums into confidence, thereby giving synergy to smooth political moves such as the roping in of RSP, which gave a big blow to the Left fold. Sudheeran’s stand to not hobnob too much with leaders of community organisations has also earned him the adoration of the impartial voters and added to his secular image.
V D Satheesan
If anyone can help Sudheeran effectively execute the role of a gamechanger in Congress politics, then it is V D Satheesan, a known-confidant of the high command. He was the choice of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi to set things right in the state Congress unit, when he was nominated as one of the vice-presidents of the party, as a team and back up to Sudheeran.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has always proved to be a crowd puller in the campaign scene and buoy his camp in the Congress, while also courting the masses.
The Mass Contact Programme he had undertaken extensively had underscored that the Solar Scam or campaigns of the Opposition have failed to make any dent into his popularity. Chandy is expected to put his weight in campaigning in the run up to the polls.
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, who is former KPCC chief and known for his meticulous planning in the campaign front, is already active in the process.