THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Grassroots-level organisational revamp in the Congress was rolled out on Sunday, with the simultaneous reconstitution of booth committees of the party across the state, thereby signaling a new course for the party. The exercise was, by and large, peaceful.
Leaders from top to bottom including the Chief Minister and other Congress ministers joined party workers at their home booths to infuse fresh vigour to the party, ahead of the nearing local bodies polls and Assembly polls, based on the guidelines issued by the party which had underscored a big ‘no’ to an overdose of group politics in the exercise.
The revamp was taken up in view of the lessons the party had detected in organisational weakness at the grassroots level which had proved costly in the recent Lok Sabha polls in a few segments where Congress candidates had to bite the dust. A total of 15 new office-bearers per booth comprising the president, two vice- presidents, three secretaries and a treasurer and also eight executive committee members were elected on the basis of consensus, as per the KPCC directive.
While a lion’s share of office-bearers among the estimated 21,458 Congress booth committees were elected on regional consensus, instances of ‘A’ and ‘I’ faction crossing swords in a few booths in Alappuzha, Thrissur and Kozhikode districts have been reported.
The reconstitution of booths in such areas have been put off. KPCC, which will source reports on such places from the respective places, will have the final say now on elections wherever it was frozen. While Chief Minister Oommen Chandy looked after the booth revamp in his home ward in Puthupally, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala did the same in his native place near Mavelikkara and KPCC president V M Sudheeran presided over the exercise at Kannamoola in the capital city where he is a voter.
They also gave political messages on the occasion in different ways, with Chandy asserting that the Congress party will emerge strong in accordance with the aspirations of the people.
Sudheeran asked the Left parties to put their house in order and not dream ever to snatch any constituent parties from the UDF. Ramesh Chennithala pointed out that the LDF has deteriorated to rock bottom, while the stand taken by the Congress and UDF during the last LS polls that Left parties have given some payment seats has been vindicated now through the developments in the CPI over the Thiruvananthapuram seat granting in lieu of huge money.
The booth-level reconstitution will be followed by a similar exercise for mandalam and block Congress committees, followed by the election of office-bearers other than the president for district committees. The deadline for completion of the whole exercise is August 30. DCC presidents have already been nominated in all the 14 districts.
The revamp is, in a way, an ad hoc exercise as the elections in the party are slated for next year end on a pan-Indian scale.
But in the case of Kerala, which is witnessing the party revamp after a long time, the committees which has come into force is likely to continue in office at least till the next Assembly polls, which is a little over one-and-a-half-years away. Barring Chief Minister’s home booth, the booth-level revamp exercise commenced at 4 pm in the entire state and lasted for an hour. Owing to pre-occupations of Chandy elsewhere, the revamp of his home booth was taken up in the morning.