Vote erosion, pandemic cost Congress dear in Kerala polls: Party

Several booth committees didn’t distribute voters’ slips properly, Chennithala tells AICC-appointed panel | Party to revamp all DCCs

Published: 27th May 2021 06:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2021 07:19 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala

Ramesh Chennithala (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In line with the change of guard in the Congress legislature party, the party central leadership has decided to revamp all 14 district committees. On Wednesday, Palakkad DCC president V K Sreekandan, MP, resigned from the post owning up the moral responsibility for the failure of the majority of UDF candidates in the recent assembly elections in the district. Alappuzha DCC president M Liju had quit soon after the poll results were announced. 

The resignation of Sreekandan followed the online hearing by the Ashok Chavan panel appointed by AICC to study the party’s poll debacle in Kerala, Assam and West Bengal. On Wednesday, former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala appeared before the five-member panel online. He pointed out that the organisational weakness and lapses of booth-level committees contributed greatly to the failure. 

It is learnt Chennithala alleged that several booth committees hadn’t even distributed voters’ slips properly. The fact-finding committee, including Salman Khurshid, Manish Tewari, Vincent H Pala and Jothi Mani, has already recorded the findings of the three national secretaries in charge of the state — P Vishwanath, Ivan D’Souza and P V Mohan — who had been overseeing the election campaigning. All 21 Congress MLAs have also apprised the panel of their views on the poll failure. 

Chennithala was the first top leader to appear before the committee and he highlighted the organisational lapses and Covid-19 playing spoilsport in the party’s prospects. “The corruption allegations which I had raised against the previous LDF government did not reach the people due to the pandemic. Despite the media giving adequate coverage, the allegations levelled against the ruling front did not reach the lower level due to the organisational lapses. The Muslim votes were polled en masse for the LDF candidates,” Chennithala told the panel. 

In fact, revamping of all district Congress committees was suggested by Congress state president Mullappally Ramachandran soon after the drubbing in the local body polls in 2020. However, both ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups opposed the proposal and senior leaders travelled to New Delhi to convince the high command that a change in the organisational structure ahead of the assembly elections would be suicidal. 

Mullappally has already submitted a report to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the assembly poll defeat. Copies of the report have also been submitted to Rahul Gandhi, CWC leaders A K Antony and K C Venugopal. “In my report, I have highlighted the mass migration of Christian and Muslim votes to the LDF camp,” Mullappally told TNIE.

The UDF coordination committee meeting will be held in Indira Bhavan at 11am on Friday. Though the high-power 21-member Political Affairs Committee meeting of the Congress was held, the UDF meeting did not take place. The meeting is expected to be stormy as UDF allies are upset about organisational lapses in the Congress.


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