K P Anil Kumar (HT Photo)
K P Anil Kumar (HT Photo)

Kerala: Suspended Congress leader Kumar quits party, joins CPI(M)

Kumar was suspended for airing his opinion against the district Congress presidents’ list released on August 28. Announcing his decision in Thiruvananthapuram, Kumar, a former KPCC general secretary, raised allegations against KPCC president K Sudhakaran.
By Ramesh Babu, Thiruvananthapuram
PUBLISHED ON SEP 15, 2021 12:10 AM IST

Suspended senior Congress leader K P Anil Kumar resigned on Tuesday and joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist), blaming the present Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) officer-bearers for their ‘authoritarian behaviour’.

Kumar was suspended for airing his opinion against the district Congress presidents’ list released on August 28. Announcing his decision in Thiruvananthapuram, Kumar, a former KPCC general secretary, raised allegations against KPCC president K Sudhakaran.

“We have a KPCC president who threatened to join the Sangh Parivar outfits on several occasions. I never intimidated the party like this. Disciplinary action should apply to all,” Kumar said.

Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan handed the membership to Kumar at the party headquarters in AKG Centre.

Reacting to Kumar’s decision, Sudhakaran said the Congress party already expelled him, and the CPI (M) was reduced to a ‘waste bin’, collecting disgruntled leaders from other parties. Earlier, another Congress leader P S Prashant expelled from the party, who later joined the Pinarayi Vijayan-led party.

“The CPI(M) is rolling out red carpet for those rejected by other parties. It shows the party is bankrupt,” said Sudhakaran. But CPI(M) acting secretary A Vijayaraghavan said more Congress leaders will leave the party in coming days. “The Congress-led UDF is facing a severe depletion. The party should inquire serious charges raised against the party president,” he said in Ernakulam.

Dissension simmered in the state Congress unit after the elevation of the new leadership and came out in the open after the district Congress presidents’ list was released last month. Anil Kumar and another senior leader K Sivadasan Nair had criticised the state leadership in a news channel discussion, and both got suspended later. The KPCC said Nair’s explanation was satisfactory, but Kumar challenged the leadership in his reply to the show-cause notice.

After the new list came out, even former chief minister Oommen Chandy and senior leader Ramesh Chennithala also expressed their displeasure publicly, but no action was taken against them, he said. “I have a 42-year-old relation with the party. Hailing from a freedom fighter’s family, I attended party programmes at the tender age of eight. I faced many sacrifices for the party but no point in continuing in the party,” he said.

Later Sudhakaran denied all allegations raised against him. saying it was natural for an expelled leader to make such wild charges. “The party will be strengthened by leaving such leaders,” the KPCC president said.

Opposition leader V D Satheesan also decried his statement. In the faction-ridden state unit, a fresh round began with the appointment of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president (PCC) K Sudhakaran, a tough leader from Communist heartland, Kannur, and Opposition leader VD Satheesan, a grassroots leader.

The move sidelined two powerful blocs, led by former Chandy and Chennithala, who dominated the state unit for more than a decade and a half. The announcement of new DCC presidents added to the internal conflict but more fireworks are expected with the impending list of KPCC office-bearers, as the new president is set to prune the jumbo committee. The party has 150-odd secretaries and many other office-bearers currently.

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