THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress state president-designate, K Sudhakaran, knows well that what he has accepted is a seat of thorns. Being a leader who draws his energy from challenges, Sudhakaran is confident of overhauling the Congress before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The vast organisational experience and the close contact he maintains with leaders and workers across the state have helped him diagnose the ills plaguing the grand old party. He knows well that the reluctance of party workers in offering voluntary services at the grass-root level is one of the major reasons behind the organisation’s pathetic electoral performance.
“Common people are not embracing any political ideology when they choose a candidate. They only think about who is there to help them in the hour of their need. We have lagged behind our opponents in voluntary services and I will work hard to build volunteer troops in all panchayats,” said Sudhakaran in an exclusive interview with TNIE. Excerpts.
What’s your first priority in the new role?
Restructuring the party right from the bottom. There is a serious communication gap between the booth-level party workers and voters which needs to be bridged. During these pandemic times, CPM could make strides as its structure at the bottom level has been strong. CPM used the opportunity and issued volunteer cards to the cadre who visited homes and provided kits bought by spending public money. This led to the poll defeat of the UDF. We could not unravel the bad governance of the LDF government as public or protest meetings were not happening.
Will there be a change in your style of functioning? Your political detractors have already pointed out your tough demeanour as a disadvantage.
What is right or wrong is gauged by the outcome of the result which is evident in Kannur. Should I keep mum when my political opponents raise allegations against the party and UDF? If the public has to trust us, one should show the guts to say what is right and wrong in the open.
You could steer only two seats, Irikkur and Peravoor, in favour of the UDF in your home district. Yet, you managed to come to the helm of the party which hasn’t gone down well with a section of party colleagues.
Those Congress leaders who feel so should go to Kannur and see the party’s history there, evaluate and then point out the faults. Around 95% of Kannur are CPM party villages, except the town areas. Political activists who don’t support CPM are not being allowed to live in peace. They will be subjected to mischiefs. Fuel, dead snakes, dead dogs and hair from barber shops will be dumped in wells, marriage proposals of girls sabotaged and they will be ostracised from the society. We now have a strong base in more seats.
This time, Kannur and Azhikode seats too could have been won. My aim was to win five seats which we will achieve in the future. I could not be active during the assembly poll campaigning as two of my brothers died within 15 days.
Both you and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan are alumni of Brennan College, Thalassery, and have known each other for several decades. Do you think Pinarayi has diluted CPM’s ideologies over the years?
(Laughs) Where is the CPM’s ideology? The same CPM people have become the spokespersons of the bourgeois. Are CPM leaders leading a proletarian or capitalist life? Can a person who gives Rs 18 crore in rent towards a helicopter be called a proletarian? Is a person who stays at star hotels wherever he goes, paying Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 rent per day, following a proletarian ideology?
Your recent casteist slur on Pinarayi had evoked widespread criticism. Has Pinarayi’s rise from the son of a toddy tapper to a two-term chief minister a normal progression?
My intention was to point out the contrast of the luxurious lifestyle led by a Marxist leader who is the son of a labourer. Is it not being extravagant? Did our former chief ministers E K Nayanar, V S Achuthanandan, K Karunakaran and A K Antony travel in helicopters? I made the comment so that the public understands this easily. What is wrong in saying the name of a profession?
SUDHAKARAN TO TAKE CHARGE ONLY AFTER MONDAY
T’Puram: State Congress president-designate and MP K Sudhakaran will take up the new charge only after Monday. An exact date has not been fixed. Sudhakaran will leave for Kannur on Friday. Over the next three days, he is scheduled to meet family members of several martyrs, including those of Shuhaib in Kannur and P K Sarath Lal and Kripesh in Kasaragod. He will also meet Congress workers who were maimed and bedridden in various political attacks.
On Thursday, Sudhakaran huddled up with former CM Oommen Chandy in the Opposition leader’s room on the assembly premises. He also met former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala at the assembly. Sudhakaran later visited former state Congress president V M Sudheeran and veteran Congress leader Vakkom Purushothaman and sought their support.