Congress Kerala MLAs don’t want PJ Kurien back in Rajya Sabha
Three of Kerala’s Rajya Sabha seats fall vacant this month and assembly numbers favour the CPI(M)-led ruling Left Democratic Front to get two members in and the Congress-led United Democratic Front one.Updated: Jun 03, 2018 23:26 IST
Smarting from the recent Chengannur bypoll humiliation, the young brigade of the Kerala Congress has taken on the seniors and doesn’t want Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien to be re-nominated to the House.
Three of Kerala’s Rajya Sabha seats fall vacant this month and assembly numbers favour the CPI(M)-led ruling Left Democratic Front to get two members in and the Congress-led United Democratic Front one.
“I hope PJ Kurien who is completing three terms in Rajya Sabha will use this opportunity wisely to withdraw from parliamentary politics,” MLA VT Balram said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
The 77-year-old Kurien, who retires this month, is leading the race though the Congress doesn’t have the numbers to retain the deputy chairman’s position it has held for many years.
Like Balram, four other young MLAs spoke against Kurien’s re-nomination on Sunday, saying he has been in Parliament since 1980s and it was time he made way for young blood.
Hibi Eden, Roji M John, Anil Akkara and Shafi Parambhil also took to the social media to vent their ire, with several seniors supporting them.
The party should not see the “Upper House as an old age home”, said Eden. People like Kurien should remember the recent statement of Congress president Rahul Gandhi that party platforms should be opened up for youngsters, John said.
An embarrassed Kurien told a news channel in New Delhi that he was ready to move out if the party wanted.
Former state chiefs VM Sudheeran and K Muralidharan had blamed factionalism for the defeat after the bypoll result was declared on May 31. The Congress lost Chengannur, once a party stronghold, to the ruling Left by 20,956 votes.
The Kerala Congress is riddled with factionalism, with party leaders encouraging groupism to keep their positions.
Not just Kurien, knives are also out for acting state Congress chief MM Hassan and UDF convener PP Thankachhan.
Senior leaders have been summoned to Delhi and were expected to meet Gandhi after he returns from his overseas visit, sources in the party unit said.
Gandhi is travelling with his mother, Sonia Gandhi, who has gone abroad for a medical check.
Gandhi is expected to pick a new Kerala chief by next week and the frontrunners include senior legislator VD Satheesan, former Kannur MP K Sudhakaran and ex-minister Mullapally Ramachandran.