Congress cannot take Kerala for granted

Despite all the shortcoming of its Kerala unit, the southern state is still one of the strongest bastions of the Congress party.
Congress flag used for representational purposes
Congress flag used for representational purposes (File Photo | PTI)

Barely days after the Lok Sabha elections concluded in Kerala, the Congress state unit is grappling with a crisis, and it has none other than KPCC president K Sudhakaran at its crux. Though AICC did blink and allow Sudhakaran—who had handed over the charge to another leader as he was a candidate in the LS polls—to return as KPCC president, signals emanating from the party show that all is not well. Both opposition leader V D Satheesan and the temporary KPCC chief M M Hassan had skipped the event where Sudhakaran re-assumed the charge. Sudhakaran—known for his acerbic retorts and loose tongue—did not hide his resentment over their absence and made snide remarks about them while talking to the media. The matter has not been settled.

Post LS polls, the party high command is being flooded with letters favouring and opposing Sudhakaran and Satheesan. The duo was chosen as an antidote to everything that was plaguing the party after it got drubbed in the 20121 Assembly elections. Sudhakaran, with his sharp retorts to C M Pinarayi Vijayan and his efforts to create a cadre system, did manage to re-energise the party initially after he took charge. But the hype did not last long as he could not carry out the organisational revamp as per the plan. The party went into the LS election with no booth committees in place in several constituencies. UDF partners were shocked at the breakdown of the organisational structure and conveyed their displeasure to the Congress leadership. The public spat between the KPCC president and Opposition leader also had put the party in a bad light.

Despite all the shortcoming of its Kerala unit, the southern state is still one of the strongest bastions of the Congress party. But it has got more to do with the prevailing anti-CPM sentiments in the state and less with the organisational strength of the Congress party. So, even if the grand old part manages to win handsomely in Kerala, it should not be taken as an affirmative vote for the Congress in the LS elections.

In other words, the Congress party should not take Kerala for granted, especially as the BJP is gradually carving out a space for itself in the state. Local body elections will take place next year and the Assembly election will follow immediately after that. After being out of power in the state for two consecutive terms, the Congress party cannot afford to lose one more round of elections. The KPCC must put its house in order at the earliest if it doesn’t want to follow the fate of its counterparts in other states.

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The New Indian Express