Congress in Kerala divided over office-bearers

AICC list triggers massive protests

The list of office-bearers and district presidents of the Kerala unit of the Congress, released by the AICC, has triggered a massive protest in the party across the state.

The first open protest took place when a section of party leaders in Trissur district led by state unit president Ramesh Chennithala were up in arms against the move to give the post of DCC president to a leader of factions led by Defence Minister A K Antony or Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The Chennithala group convened a protest meeting in Thrissur on Wednesday where it adopted a resolution to urge the AICC president to withdraw the central leadership’s “unilateral” decision to nominate O Abdurahman Kutty for the post and asked him to retain the outgoing chief B Balram.

The resolution said that if the central leadership fails to concede their demand, all the Congress leaders (of Chennithala faction) in the district will resign from their post. Among others, the meeting was attended by two prominent MLAs – Therambil Ramakrishnan who is also a former minister and M P Vincent. The mayor of Thrissur Corporation was also present.

The Trissur DCC president post has been given to a leader of Antony faction after a gap of 32 years under the pressure of P C Chacko. In 1980, the coveted post was given to Chennithala faction at the instance of veteran Congress leader and former chief minister late K Karunakaran who engaged in a tug of war with Antony. Since then, the post was held by the group and Antony faction did not make claims as Trissur was the home turf of Karunakaran, then leader of Chennithala faction. Chacko is adamant that he would not withdraw his confidant. Enraged by his stand, the opposing group burnt Chacko’s effigy and his offices were attacked. Chennithala has appealed to the Central leadership to swap the post with that of Palakkad.

Party sources said Chandy and Chennithala had reached an understanding to hold the post by the latter’s group. But Chacko undermined it and grabbed the seat for his close-aide.

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