Thiruvananthapuram, May 5 | In the aftermath of one of the worst mauling the Congress-led UDF in Kerala suffered in the assembly polls, when it saw its tally came down from 47 in 2016 to 41 in 2021, fireworks in the party have started.
In the 2016 assembly polls, the Congress had 22 seats, but in the results that came out on Sunday, its tally was 21, leaving all and sundry in gloom.
What has hurt the Congressmen most was, all of them expected that never before has a sitting government retained power and hence, it would be natural that they will return, but that did not happen.
And hence after two days of silence, the fireworks have begun with various leaders and feeder organisations baying for the blood of seasoned veterans.
On the chopping block is State party president Mullapally Ramachandran, who many thought would put in his papers, but according to sources, he has left that decision to the party high command.
The first to sound the bell was young Congress MP from Ernakulam- Hibi Eden, who wrote in his Facebook, “Why do we still need a sleeping president?”
The losing candidate at Kanjirapally in Kottayam district, Joseph Vazhakan, also a senior office bearer of the party said the need of the hour is a very strong leadership.
“The party has to have a cadre structure. If one looks back, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala was very active and took up a lot of issues, but he failed to get any support from the party,” said Vazhakan.
Even though Congress party in Kerala has always been divided between the followers of K. Karunakaran and A.K. Antony, after 2000, the Karunakaran faction was led by Chennithala and the Antony faction by two time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, which continues even today.
However in the past two years a new power Centre surfaced in the form of K.C. Venugopal, now a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, has the full blessings of Rahul Gandhi.
Taking a broadside at Venugopal, without naming him, Vazhakan said the practice of running to Delhi for everything has to stop. There has to be delegation of authority.
Incidentally, the Congress leadership here was banking on the list of candidates that was announced, when it saw many regulars being left out and saw new faces in more than half of the 91 seats that the party had contested.
A media critic said, no usual tactics adopted by the leadership when it faces a reversal will work again by appointing a committee and getting a report and then keeping it under the carpet. This will not save the grand old party in Kerala.
“It’s got nothing to do with old or new faces. If so, with almost 50 per cent new faces being fielded, nothing happened. Just imagine, if the leadership had fielded the same old names and lost, there would be a big encore. The need of the hour is the party has to stop this nomination business to party posts and they should have elected members to all posts at all levels, the sooner it’s done the better it is. If not, this party will disappear,” said the critic.
Calls have now started with a section of the Youth Congress for appointing Kannur Lok Sabha member K. Sudhakaran as the new president.
“We need a president who is active and not someone who holds the post as a decorative one. Sudhakaran is the one who should be made the president. Also the practice of appointing jumbo committees at the top level of the party has to stop,” said Youth Congress leader Regil Makutty.
Anger has also come out against the elder son of A.K. Antony- Anil Antony who was leading the social media campaign from the state party headquarters.
The AICC has asked Tariq Anwar, the general secretary to prepare his report on the debacle and all eyes are on what is going to come from the party high command.
Meanwhile, on Friday the top leadership of the party is sitting down to discuss the issues and it’s certain fireworks will continue and is expected to intensify.