Kerala: Change of guard no cakewalk for Sudhakaran detractors in party

Leaders warn of backlash in south, central Kerala where Ezhava, non-Catholics play key role
KPCC president K Sudhakaran
KPCC president K SudhakaranPhoto | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The change of guard in state Congress would not be as easy as detractors of K Sudhakaran think. As discussions over organisational revamp are centred around a change of guard in the KPCC and lack of Christian representation, especially of the Roman Catholic community, the leaders who support Sudhakaran warn about a possible backlash in south and central Kerala where Ezhava and non-Catholics play a key role in electoral politics.

There is dissatisfaction in the Sudhakaran faction over how a section of KPCC leaders tried to foil his return. “Many leaders in the south had only excelled in table talk politics while Sudhakaran had fought endangering his life for Congress’ growth in Malabar,” a leader close to the KPCC president told TNIE.

“Some leaders (reference to M M Hassan) insulted him by not seeking his opinion before revoking the disciplinary action Sudhakaran had initiated against a leader based on a complaint filed by Adoor Prakash,” he said. It is learnt that the KPCC president will call a meeting of office-bearers and DCC presidents after May 23. He will leave for New Delhi on Friday for campaigning and will be there till May 23. In the May 4 meeting, it was decided to evaluate the poll at the mandalam level before May 20. Hence the office-bearers meeting was cancelled,”he said.

KPCC president K Sudhakaran
Congress brass not keen to reinstate Sudhakaran as party’s Kerala chief

Congress leaders pointed out that whenever the Congress came to power, it had swept the seats in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha. In 2001, when A K Antony-led UDF was elected with 100 seats, these districts played a major role in the sweeping victory. However, the disruption of the community equation that was sustained in the Congress for long affected party’s poll performance in the latter years. The strong support of Latin Catholics and Ezhava community through the SNDP Yogam helped Congress win many seats.

However, the interplay of non-Catholic factors was often ignored by the Congress leadership. “After the demise of Oommen Chandy, there were no leaders from the Orthodox Christian Community in Congress,” a senior leader said.

“The Congress should try to bring in more non-Catholic leaders to its leadership. The LDF made Veena George, who is from Malankara Orthodox Christian community, a minister thus reducing the distance between the CPM and the community,” he said.

The leaders who oppose a leadership change in KPCC point out that it was non-Catholic elements that played a major role in the last Lok Sabha and assembly elections. According to them, in the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency, there was only a small segment of Catholic votes, especially in Aranmula, Adoor, Konni and Ranni barring Poonjar, Kanjirapally and Tiruvalla segments.

In the assembly elections held in Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Kottayam Kanjirapally constituencies in Kottayam district, the winners were from non-Christian communities. In Idukki, in the five constituencies except Thodupuzha and Idukki, non-Christian leaders from LDF won in three constituencies, even though UDF fielded four Christian candidates.

"In the heydays, Congress had leaders like Vakkom Purushothaman and T Sarath Chandra Prasad representing the Ezhava community in Thiruvananthapuram and 

 CV Padmarajan, Kadavoor sivadasan and Prathapa Varma Thampan all representing the community in Kollam. In Alappuzha also there were D Sugathan, CR Jayaprakash and there was leaders like MK Hemachandran in Pathanamthitta district. In Kottayam SNDP Yogam president N Sreenivasan became a candidate with the Congress support. Slowly the representation the community in the Congress came down as 

"In the heydays, Congress had leaders like Vakkom Purushothaman and T Sarath Chandra Prasad representing the Ezhava community in Thiruvananthapuram and CV Padmarajan, Kadavoor sivadasan and Prathapa Varma Thampan all representing the community in Kollam. In Alappuzha also there were D Sugathan, CR Jayaprakash and there was leaders like MK Hemachandran in Pathanamthitta district. In Kottayam SNDP Yogam president N Sreenivasan became a candidate with the Congress support. Slowly the representation of the community in the Congress came down as leaders ignored community equilibrium that helped it reap success. Now they are fielding leaders like M Liju and Bindu Krishna in seats where they could not win”, political analyst Ajith Sreenivasan said. 

Sudhakaran faction dissatisfied

  1. There is dissatisfaction in the Sudhakaran faction over the way a section of KPCC leaders tried to prevent his comeback

  2. It is learnt that the KPCC president will call a meeting of office-bearers and DCC presidents after May 23. He will leave for New Delhi on Friday for election campaigning and will be there till May 23

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