Sudhakaran takes over as Kerala Congress chief

Published on Jun 09, 2021 12:17 AM IST

Thiruvananthpuram: The All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Tuesday appointed K Sudhakaran, a member of Parliament from Kannur (north Kerala), as president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee after intense deliberations

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Thiruvananthpuram: The All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Tuesday appointed K Sudhakaran, a member of Parliament from Kannur (north Kerala), as president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee after intense deliberations. The party high command picked the 73-year old leader for the top post replacing Mullappally Ramachandran after long discussions in the state and in New Delhi.

“I know it is a big challenge. My first priority is to strengthen the party at the grassroots level. I am sure the party will be in the reckoning soon bypassing recent setbacks,” Sudhakaran said in Thiruvananthapuram.

Sudhakaran told reporters that party leader Rahul Gandhi informed him about the new responsibility over the phone.

Soon after the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) suffered a mauling in the recently concluded Assembly polls from the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and settled with just 41 seats, there had been a clamour for leadership change in the state unit of the Congress.

Following the humiliating defeat in the state elections, leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala and PCC chief Mullapally Ramachandran had resigned. Senior leader VD Satheesan was later appointed as the opposition leader in the assembly, but the selection of the PCC chief was delayed due to pressure from different groups.

Meanwhile, after the elevation of the new PCC president, three new working presidents were also appointed by the AICC -- MP Kodikunnil Suresh, and legislators PT Thomas and T Siddique. The present working president, K V Thomas, has been removed from the post, said the release issued by AICC general secretary (in-charge of organisation) K C Venugopal.

Senior party leaders including former chief minister Oommen Chandy, Chennithala and VM Sudheeran hailed his elevation and said his selection will give a right message to the party rank and file.

“It is a welcome move. We will all work together to strengthen the party,” Chandy said.

An opponent of faction politics, Sudhakaran (73) wields good support among young cadre of the party. Known for his strong position against the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala, the senior Congress leader survived two attempts on his life. He is generally considered as one of the few Congress leaders who are strong enough to take on the ruling CPI(M) in their citadel. According to party insiders, Sudhakaran, who came from grassroots level, always stood with party workers in thick and thin.

According to party insiders, the two powerful groups in the Congress in Kerala, one led by Chandy and the other by Ramesh Chennithala, were not in favour of Sudhakaran, but party leader Rahul Gandhi, also an MP from the state, threw his weight behind him.

“I will try to take everyone in the party together and seek their support and cooperation to revive the party. The Congress will surely regain its strength and will make a strong comeback in the state,” Sudhakaran said on Tuesday.

He started his political career with the Janata Party in 1970s and later joined the Congress at the initiative of veteran leader K Karunakaran. A four-term legislator from 1996 to 2009, Sudhakaran was also a minister in AK Antony cabinet. He was elected twice from Kannur parliamentary seat. Even in his 70s, Sudhakaran is known for his fitness regime.

(With agency inputs)

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