Congress leaders in Kerala are waiting for a decisive move from the high command to appoint an interim president for the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. A decision is expected to be taken by AICC president Sonia Gandhi on her return to India. According to reports, she is currently undergoing treatment abroad.
According to local TV channel reports, there is a ”rush” of senior Congress leaders who are looking for this plum post after Congress Kerala unit chief VM Sudheeran stepped down. A larger revamp within the party is also expected.
So, what’s the big deal about the KPCC post? The position of Congress Kerala unit chief comes with considerable decision-making power and clout with the top brass, among other things.
The KPCC post is a most sought after role among senior leaders in the Congress party in Kerala which has two strong factions – the ”A” faction headed by former CM Oommen Chandy and the “I” faction headed by Ramesh Chennithala. The buzz is that Oommen Chandy may be named for the KPCC post. However, there is no confirmation yet.
The post fell vacant following the resignation of VM Sudheeran, who cited health reasons for his decision though the local news reports suggest that the in-fighting within the party led him to take such a drastic step.
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Another factor may have been that VM Sudheeran’s relationship with former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had not been a smooth one, given the differences they had on key issues within the party.
That VM Sudheeran got the post solely because he was close to Rahul Gandhi had caused much resentment among both “A” and “I” factions of the Congress party. To add fuel to fire, VM Sudheeran had been vocal in his criticism when Congress was slammed over corruption charges during Chandy’s rule, to the extent that Minister K Babu, Chandy’s aide and confidante, who was forced to resign.
Factions within the Congress party in Kerala have not been in agreement with VM Sudheeran’s stance on several issues, particularly in implementing the state’s controversial liquor prohibition policy.
As of now, the official stand of the Congress party is that VM Sudheeran’s resignation has not been accepted till Sonia Gandhi gives the nod.
AK Antony, the senior most leader in the state who is reportedly closest to the Congress high command, has been camping in Kerala and meeting several leaders. It has also been reported that AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi began discussions regarding appointing a temporary KPCC chief.