Congress faces flak as youth wing remains headless at a crucial juncture

Other than a few protests at the local level, the Youth Congress has not carried out a big stir against the government in the state capital.
Shafi Parambil, Youth Congress state president (Photo | EPS/Vincent Pulickal)
Shafi Parambil, Youth Congress state president (Photo | EPS/Vincent Pulickal)

KOCHI/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Criticism is growing within the Congress as its youth wing, the Youth Congress (YC), remains headless at a time when the current political situation in Kerala demands strong protests against the CPM-led LDF government which is facing public ire on various issues. 

Both Congress and YC have failed to stage protests on various corruption-related issues, such as the recent Karuvannur cooperative bank scam involving CPM MLA A C Moideen, allegations against the chief minister’s daughter, and public-related matters like the dearth of subsidised items in Supplyco, said party insiders.

The YC state committee was dissolved around six months ago for reorganisation. Though the election process concluded last month, the results are yet to be announced. “Youth Congress’ activities have come to a standstill. Other than a few protests at the local level, YC has not carried out a big stir against the government in the state capital.

The YC state committee election process wrapped up on September 15, but the scrutiny of the memberships is yet to be over. Earlier, election proceedings could not be held as per the proposed schedule due to several reasons, including a court verdict that stayed the process and the demise of former CM Oommen Chandy,” said a YC leader in the organisational poll fray.

“If the process is delayed inordinately, chances of YC leaders to be fielded in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be lost,” the leader said. However, C B Rathish, an IYC functionary in charge of the Kerala organisational elections, said scrutiny of memberships has begun and will take about a month or more to complete.

“Once it is over, the YC Election Authority (YCEA) will declare the results,” he said.Meanwhile, a section of state YC leaders alleged they were unaware of the current status of the outfit’s presidential election. A YC leader who had been in the fray initially but backed out owing to pressure from faction leaders told TNIE that he doesn’t have any update on what’s happening on the poll front.  “I believe the scrutiny of the membership campaign must be going on at present. The membership drive was extended due to the Puthuppally by-election,” the leader said.

K S Sabarinadhan, one of the incumbent vice-presidents, told TNIE that scrutiny of the membership campaign is ongoing and the outcome will be known by November end or early January. 
“So far 7.3 lakh people have taken YC membership. Malappuram emerged on top with one lakh memberships, while T’Puram was second with 90,000. Wayanad has the least number of new members,” Sabarinadhan said.

Filing of nominations for the YC polls began on June 1 and concluded on June 14. The frontrunners for the YC state president post are incumbent general secretary Rahul Mamkoottathil, who is close to the V D Satheesan camp, and ‘I’ group nominee Abin Varkey. Another prominent candidate is Aritha Babu, the firebrand woman youth leader who unsuccessfully contested in the 2021 assembly election from Kayamkulam. 

In all likelihood, Rahul is expected to succeed Palakkad MLA Shafi Parambil as the YC president, while the others will become state vice-presidents. There are nine YC vice-presidents posts where communal equations will be maintained. Four zones were earmarked in Kerala, where All India YC leaders were appointed as election authority members and were in charge of monitoring the process. The first three candidates who poll the maximum number of votes in the election for the president post would have to appear before an interview panel comprising the national YC leadership. They will have to meet senior leader Rahul Gandhi too.

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