Best if Congress infighting ends
In My View

Best if Congress infighting ends

P.C. Punnen

P.C. Punnen

The Congress in Kerala it seems is split into different groups, one led by Oommen Chandy, and another led by Ramesh Chennithala, and others are playing their own games. They should win the next assembly election, for the tradition has it that the opposition parties win when assembly polls are held. In short, the CPM and the Congress share the ruling post.

Mulapally Ramachandran, the Congress acting president, seems to have a tough job. He was against forming a jumbo committee to head the KPCC. The two main groups wanted a jumbo committee. Sonia Gandhi and other top leaders have rejected the move for a hundred member committee to head the Congress in Kerala. Aspirants were many but a small state like Kerala could have accepted a jumbo committee at grave peril. Sonia Gandhi corrected it and many of the aspirants withdrew from the list. It was proposed due to group managers pressure tactics against Mullapally's proposal to have a small number KPCC. The list included Thampanoor Ravi, Anil Kumar, Adoor Prakash, PC Vishwanath, and former central minister Thomas, and Siddiq. Such a big committee would have led the Congress only to a defeat in the next election.

Mulapally Ramachandran was originally a Karunakaran supporter and had led the KSU long time back. He was a minister in Narashimha Rao's cabinet and Manmohan Singh's cabinet. He had small portfolios but like AK Anthony who was known for his uprightness he was given a job in Kerala by the Congress top leaders.

Karunakaran was chief minister of Kerala twice and a member of the Narasimha Rao government and later fell out with the Congress and led a party of his own. But after some time he rejoined the Congress. The party he formed cut a sorry figure in Kerala and then was his return. The man had according to the Kerala journalists earned the title of kingmaker during Rao's time.

A similar fate awaits Mullapally, say media watchers. Mullapally has asserted his role as party president when Ramesh Chennithala the opposition leader in the Assembly, joined hands with the Marxists in their protest against Citizenship Amendment Act. Mullapally did not participate in that and opposed the Congress joining hands with the Marxists. It was a very clever move by Pinarayi Vijayan. Mullapally was an enemy of the Marxists since his KSU days. I think he made a mistake in cutting the joint struggle idea.

Strictly speaking the Congress and the Marxists and the Muslim League should have had a joint agitation against the BJPs move : the Citizenship Amendment Act . It is a matter of debate. Mulapally will have, I think, to face the same problem as another Congress leader Sudheeran faced. He had to resign his post as KPCC president.

The whole thing leaves the Congress to a serious problem : the role of the KPCC and the role of the assembly leadership. Ramesh Chennithala has accepted the role of the KPCC president as party leader but Ommen Chandy who was a chief minister of Kerala twice hasn't yet said where he stands for. This is a serious problem in the Congress in Kerala. It should not have had a 100 member jumbo committee to guide and rule the Congress in Kerala. AK Antony the Congress top leader known for his uprightness and honesty hasn't said a word about this serious problem. Sonia Gandhi had to intervene. The top Congress leaders could not have accepted a 100 member committee. The Congress has to win the next elections in Kerala. One of its allies the Kerala Congress has split into two groups and there is no end in sight for their fighting. The bickering over key government posts has led the party which is, to say the least, communal like the Muslim League. The Congress or for that matter the Marxists will have to adopt them. That is the tragedy that Kerala has faced in the past and will face in the future. There is no way of ending their small but vital part of the vote share. No matter what the CPM says or said this situation will continue. The same can be said of the Muslim League : no party can ignore them , for they claim to represent the Muslims.

This was a half-truth till some years ago but it has become a full truth in Kerala politics which no party high or small can ignore. For the party assembly seats and local body seats will reflect it. The same seems to be the Nairs and Ezhava communities strategy. The Ezhavas were the vote bank of the Marxists . The situation hasn't changed much thank God. This policy Velapally Natesan seems to have adopted. Today or tomorrow , he hopes, the Ezhavas will become a deciding force in Kerala politics. Let it not happen.

In the race to power in Kerala it seems KC Venugopal who was an MP from Alappuzha and currently is an member of the Congress high command will have a chance to lead the party in Kerala. Ramesh Chennithala will have to play second fiddle to him and will have the satisfaction of curtailing Ommen Chandy's role.

At any rate the Congress has to take some stand on issues like who will have the final say in matters that affect Kerala. Whether it will be a party which will provide youngsters a key role . It can't continue its old ways.