The problem never ends in Congress in Kerala

by IANS |

Thiruvananthapuram, March 14 (IANS) Two years after the Assembly poll debacle in Kerala, the Congress party continues to be riddled with factional feuds.

The latest issue that has started to hurt the party is the feud between the state president K. Sudhakaran and seven of his Parliament colleagues who have approached the party high command.

The legacy problem in the Congress is the leaders leading the factions fail to learn from the past mistakes and the damage that has done to the party at all levels.

The history of the Congress party in Kerala can be traced back to the times when the legendary K.Karunakaran and the now 'retired' A.K. Antony were the faction leaders that began in the '70's and continued for three decades and on most occasions, it was the former who had the last laugh.

After which the respective factions were headed by Oommen Chandy, who replaced Antony and Ramesh Chennithala who was the protege of Karunakaran.

But, here it was Chandy who had the upper edge, even when Chennithala got support from splinter factions of the erstwhile factions led by veteran Vayalar Ravi and the reformists' in the party.

When Chandy appeared to have smooth sailing, came the Solar scam and by the end of Chandy's tenure as the Chief Minister in 2016, he after the defeat suffered in the 2016 Assembly polls at the hands of CPI(M)-led Left and a nagging health issue, saw him bow out from the leadership, creating a void.

Just before the 2016 Assembly polls, V.M. Sudheeran became the new state party chief, but fued continued. After poll debacle, Sudheeran bowed and Mullapally Ramachandran, but the slide in the party continued and after he too decided to move out, Kannur powerhouse Sudhakaran became the new chief.

Along with Sudhakaran, the party high command decided to hand over the post of the Leader of Opposition to V.D. Satheesan, even when the incumbent in the post Chennithala in 2021 got the majority support in the Congress legislative party, which only increased the tensions between the factions.

Consequent to this, at the moment there are multiple factions which includes the one led by Sudhakaran, another one where Satheesan is at the helm and the traditional Chandy and the Chennithala factions.

In between Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor entered the scene, as his stock among the Congress supporters, especially the youth and the educated, has increased ever since he threw his hat to contest against the party nominee Malikarjuna Kharge to the top post.

And though he lost badly, for some reason his stock has been rising, and he has started to get support from the party leaders who are fed up with the factional feuds of the leaders.

Yet another problem that has surfaced is the way K.C. Venugopal's -- the present AICC general secretary (organisation) -- unprecedented ascendancy at the national level due to his closeness with Rahul Gandhi has created total confusion among the factional leaders in the state.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said it's sad that the Congress party just refuses to learn anything from the past.

"Gone are the days when a huge section of those who voted for them blindly has now become a minority and the present leadership has failed to attract the youth. Chandy will go down as the last Congress leader who had a mass support base and if there is one leader who has support now it is Tharoor. But here again, Tharoor is not in the good books of the other faction leaders," said the source.

"The party is now unable to take on the faltering Pinnarayi Vijayan government as one unit. Despite the government caught in numerous scams and scandals, the Congress has not been able to build up the situation," added the source.

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