Kerala: Discussions centre around adding Christian leaders to congress state leadership

There is a growing opinion that adequate representation from the community, especially from the Roman Catholic group, is essential for the party’s survival.
Congress state president K Sudhakaran with VD Satheesan.
Congress state president K Sudhakaran with VD Satheesan.Express Photos

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even after K Sudhakaran returned to the role of Congress state president, discussions on appointing a new president continue in the state Congress.

After the demise of former Kerala Chief Minister and senior congress leader Oommen Chandy, and the retirement of A K Antony from active politics, there was no representation for the Christian community in Congress’ state leadership. This has not gone down well with the Church and the Christian community which were once considered as the backbone of the party.

There is a growing opinion that adequate representation from the community, especially from the Roman Catholic group, is essential for the party’s survival.

“The poll result on June 4 will show us how much Congress suffered because of the lack of representation,” a senior leader told TNIE. “The Muslim League used to ensure Muslim community representation and Congress and Kerala Congress were keen on Christian representation. Kerala Congress’ exit and the lack of representation in the Congress have resulted in a growing apathy in the Christian community towards the party. Meanwhile, the CPM and BJP have successfully made inroads into the community,” he said.

Some leaders opined that the Roman Catholics, being the largest group, should be given representation as they form the largest chunk of the community.

Peravoor MLA Sunny Joseph’s name has figured prominently in the discussions. “His unbiased character and relations cutting across group equations are considered favourable factors,” an MLA from the Malabar region said. “If the leadership wants a young face, there are leaders like Angamaly MLA Roji M John or Anto Antony who belong to the RC community,” he said.

Though Sudhakaran triumphed temporarily in returning to the post of KPCC chief, there’s dissatisfaction brewing in the party. In the May 4 meeting, some candidates pointed towards the weak organisational structure of the party.

Sudhakaran’s ill health and the allegation that he is under the control of courtiers are widely discussed in the party. A veteran leader said that even if the Congress performs well in the Lok Sabha election it could be due to the anti-incumbency against the Central and state governments and not owing to the strength of the Congress.

“In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Congress won 19 seats. However, in the LSG and assembly elections that ensued it could not sustain the winning streak. A leadership change is imminent,” he said.

In the May 4 meeting held to evaluate the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha election, the leadership decided to conduct a survey at the booth level. A proforma has been distributed to the local leaders and they have been asked to fill it and report to the state leadership.

The leadership has sought the details of the total number of Congressmen who voted, total number of people who did not cast their votes, and the number of party voters who were in foreign countries at the time of polling.

All DCCs and assembly committees have been asked to discuss the issue and submit the feedback to the KPCC leadership. It was after leaders pointed out organisational lapses in the meeting that leaders, including K C Venugopal, decided to evaluate the organisational strength and weakness of the party before the next election.

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