Another senior Kerala Congress leader quits to join CPI(M)
Another senior Kerala Congress leader KP Anil Kumar, who was suspended from the party for criticising the state leadership in public, resigned and joined the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) on Tuesday.
Announcing his decision in Thiruvananthapuram, Kumar, also a former Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) general secretary, said most of the present office-bearers of the state unit behaved in an “authoritarian” manner. He also made some other serious allegations against state Congress president K Sudhakaran. Later, CPI(M) politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan inducted Kumar at the party headquarters at AKG Centre.
Soon after Kumar’s press conference, the PCC chief said Kumar had been expelled from the party and the CPI(M) was similar to a “waste bin” collecting disgruntled leaders from other parties. Earlier, another expelled Congress leader PS Prashant had joined the CPI(M).
Dissension was simmering in the state unit of the Congress party after the elevation of new leadership and it came to a boil after the announcement of district Congress presidents on August 28. Anil Kumar and another senior leader K Sivadasan Nair then criticised the state leadership during a discussion on a news channel, resulting in their suspension.
After announcing his resignation, Kumar said the Congress had lost direction and it was in the wrong hands in the state. “We have a PCC president who threatened to join the Sangh Parivar outfits on a number of occasions. I never tried to pressurise the party like this. Disciplinary action should be applicable to all,” he said.
Even former CM Oommen Chandy and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala had expressed their displeasure publicly over the new appointments but no action was taken against them, he alleged. “I have a 42-year-old relationship with the party. Hailing from a freedom fighter’s family, I used to attend party programmes at a tender age of eight. I faced many sacrifices for the party but no point in continuing in the party,” Kumar said.
Sudhakaran, however, denied the allegations made by Kumar saying it was natural for an expelled leader to make such wild charges. Opposition leader VD Satheesan also decried his statement.
The latest round of infighting in the Kerala Congress began with the appointment of K Sudhakaran, a tough leader from Communist heartland of Kannur, as PCC chief and VD Satheesan, a grassroots leader, as the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly.
The move sidelined two powerful blocs, led by former CM Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, who dominated the state unit for more than a decade-and-a-half. The announcement of new district presidents added to the internal conflict, but more fireworks are expected when the list of PCC office-bearers is announced, as the new PCC president is expected to prune the jumbo committee. The party has 150-odd secretaries and many other office-bearers now.