His resignation from PAC plunges Congress into crisis
Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran’s ‘surprise’ resignation from the party’s political affairs committee (PAC) was widely perceived as a vote of no confidence against the current KPCC leadership.
It reflected the festering divisions in the party and has precipitated a new crisis in the flailing Congress in Kerala. The move has also retarded the Congress attempt to inject a sense of purpose and direction into the rank and file to counter the drift that had gripped the party in the aftermath of the crushing 2021 Assembly election debacle.
Mr. Sudheeran, a former KPCC president himself, has a lone wolf image and was for long the ethical face of the Congress in Kerala. Of late, the veteran leader had a series of run-ins with the current KPCC leadership.
Mr. Sudheeran had reportedly inveighed against KPCC president K. Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan, arguably the new "power centre" in the party, for acting arbitrarily and rendering the PAC impotent.
By one account, Mr. Sudheeran’s resignation was a message to the party’s national leadership. Notably, it had come at an ominous time when defection to the CPI(M) was in vogue among disgruntled Congress leaders.
Mr. Sudheeran had pointedly rejected the neo-liberal economic outlook of the Manmohan Singh era recently. Instead, he argued for a return to Nehruvian socialism, a political line that could endear him to the Left.
Mr. Sudheeran has not revealed the principal reason for his stepping down from the PAC. His critics alleged the veteran had stirred up unnecessary political theatre for getting accommodation at the party’s national level. Mr. Sudheeran’s reticence triggered intense media speculation that he was "resentful" of AICC general secretary K. Venugopal’s "ascendancy" in party affairs in Kerala.
Meanwhile, Mr. Satheesan called on Mr. Sudheeran and requested him to retract the decision. He told reporters later that a leader of Mr. Sudheeran’s stature should be in the PAC.
KPCC president Mr. Sudhakaran said the KPCC would settle the issue amicably and away from the media glare. AICC general secretary Tariq Anwar is also likely to meet Mr. Sudheeran.
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