AICC firefights Kerala factional feud amid Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad trip

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AICC is trying to sort out the feud in Kerala after senior leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala formally opposed the list of district Congress president probables PCC president K Sudhakaran submitted to it with the backing of legislative party leader VD Satheesan. AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal is known as the mentor of the newly-anointed Sudhakaran-Satheesan team and the DCC chiefs’ list is believed to have his endorsement.

In separate e-mail to interim party president Sonia Gandhi, coinciding with Rahul Gandhi’s 3-day visit to his Wayanad constituency, Chandy and Chennithala opposed the list alleging ‘unilateralism’ in selection and said it was submitted without broad consultations with senior leaders, including them.

In their first act of formal resistance since Gandhi’s ‘generational shift’ project, the two also alleged that social and gender representation in the list was inadequate and some probables lacked acceptance among party workers. The letter war came after the silent tussle in the PCC, which delayed the constitution of Sudhakaran’s promise of leading a ‘groupless and compact’ organisation.

The argument gained broader acceptability as ex-PCC chiefs, VM Sudheeran — a Rahul Gandhi appointee given the charge to free the state unit of factionalism earlier — and Mullappally Ramachandran said they were not consulted before the DCC list was prepared. The two are not affiliated to either the Chandy or Ramesh-led groups.

The Sudhakar-Satheesan camp maintains there were enough discussions with senior leaders and party legislators before the list was sent. Their supporters alleged the Chandy-Chennithala resistance was a sign of their belligerence at being sidelined. But many insiders said the letters may be an indication of their mood to broaden their fight, which coincides with raging feud in many Congress state units.

While it is important for the new team to have the list endorsed to establish and have a new lineup of DCC leadership, the AICC is keen on averting a bigger fight and has reached out to Chandy, Chennithala and others to listen to their grievances and

‘inputs’ for DCCs’ post.

“No final decision has been taken on appointing the 14 new DCC presidents. I am holding talks with various senior leaders, including Chandy and Chennitaha and also party MPs and MLAs, listening to their views and taking their inputs on the DCC president’s choice. The final decision will be taken keeping in mind all suggestions,” AICC general secretary incharge Tariq Anwar told ET.

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