G Radhakrishna Kurup | B P Deepu
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While the state Congress is plagued by allegations and counter allegations over the ‘gifting’ of the Rajya Sabha seat to Kerala Congress (M), Prof. Radhakrishna Kurup, who has done a doctoral thesis on the group war in the party, says such sacrifices are part of the Congress politics in state. He claims the tradition stated with A K Antony who ‘gifted’ the state chief minister-ship to the alliance partner CPI after he resigned in 1978.
Prof. Kurup’s doctoral thesis is titled “Politics of Congress factionalism in Kerala since 1982”.
After emergency, the Congress-led United Democratic Front came to power in 1977 with 111 seats. K Karunakaran was the Chief Minister. When Karunakaran was forced to step down following adverse comments in the Rajan case, A K Antony replaced him.
The party split in January 1978 nationally and Antony aligned with Brahmananda Reddy who was later replaced by veteran leader Devaraj Urs. In 1978 when Indira Gandhi contested the Chikmangallur by-elections, Devaraj Urs extended support to her and Antony resigned in protest. Despite having senior leaders like S Varadarajan Nair, then as sitting Congress MLA, Antony gifted the Chief Minstership to P K Vasudevan Nair.
Prof. Kurup, who retired from department of political science, University College, Thiruvananthapuram, says his doctoral thesis shows how sacrificing Congress’ seats and positions to alliance partners started with Antony.
He argues that Antony, who was a poor administrator, did not want any other Congress leader to become the Chief Minister. Hence he offered the chief ministership to CPI, who was then the alliance partner of the Congress in Kerala.
Prof. Kurup states that while there were hectic group wars in the days of Antony and Karunakaran with party workers engaging in fist fights to prove their point, there was a strong belief that their leaders would protect them.
He also argues that cutting across group affiliations, Karunakaran always protected party workers. However, according to Prof Kurup, currently part workers don’t trust the leaders and the party in state has been on a decline for past several years.A former KSU leader and always a Congressman, Dr Kurup laments that the party does not have leaders who are trying to uplift it.