Congress set for generational change in Kerala; new KPCC president next week

It is learnt that KPCC president M M Hassan will step down immediately after the Janamochana Yatra which will conclude on May 3.

Published: 24th April 2018 02:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2018 04:06 AM   |  A+A-

Congress flag

Congress flag used for representation. (File photo | PTI)

Express News Service

KOCHI:A major revamp of the KPCC will be announced as early as next week with the Congress high command almost finalising the names of a new set of leaders who will take the party reins in Kerala, even as some old war horses will be accommodated in the party headquarters in New Delhi.

It is learnt that KPCC president M M Hassan will step down immediately after the Janamochana Yatra which will conclude on May 3. As per the new structure, former Chief Minister and 'A' group leader Oommen Chandy will be inducted into the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the grand old party. Similarly, P C Chacko, who is in charge of the party in Delhi, may be a special invitee to the CWC.

Top contenders for the KPCC president's post are V D Satheesan and Mullappally Ramachandran, while Kannur strongman K Sudhakaran can also spring a surprise if matters go to the wire.

Detractors, however, point out that Satheesan's elevation may unsettle the caste equation in the Congress, given the fact that Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala is also from the Nair community. Also, both are from the 'I' group. However, Satheesan, the North Paravur MLA, has both age and his impeccable track record in raising key issues in the Assembly to his advantage.

It is also pointed out it is high time the party thinks beyond the group, caste and community equations. "Rahul Gandhi is just 48. He wants a team that will help him in guiding the party for the next two decades at least," said one Congress leader.

To pacify the 'A' group, Chandy loyalist Benny Behanan, who 'sacrificed' his constituency in the last Assembly polls, may be given the Rajya Sabha MP post, which will become vacant in June after the term of P J Kurien, who also the deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha, ends.

For seven-time MP, Mullappally Ramachandran, all the equations work perfect, except for the age factor: He is 73. Both 'A' and 'I' may agree to him becoming the new KPCC president. The Congress high command has a history of rewarding those who have conducted the AICC polls. So Mullappally, who conducted the AICC polls smoothly as the central election authority chairman, may be well rewarded.

Being from the Thiyya community is another big advantage for Mullappally. Through this one single move, the high command hopes the party can woo the entire OBC community, mainly Ezhavas and Thiyyas.

Above all, a leader from northern Kerala to lead the organisation would also usher its rank and file in the Malabar region, where Congress performance was poor in the last Assembly polls. Sudhakaran, another contender from north Kerala, lacks the acceptability of Mullappally, who does not belong to any group now. Though he is also from the Thiyya community, he belongs to the 'I' group.

Whether the high command will go with the flow, placating all the groups in the Congress in Kerala, or a generational shift in the Congress landscape in the state will be known next week.

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