Thiruvananthapuram: It’s ‘accommodation’ time for Cong in Kerala. One of the biggest problems faced by the Congress in Kerala is to accommodate its leaders, who have had long innings in front-line politics and one such activity is taking place in the state capital when 74-year-old K.V. Thomas is being made the working president of the state unit on Thursday.
It’s ‘accommodation’ time for Cong in Kerala. Thomas is often identified as one close to national interim President Sonia Gandhi by virtue of being a Lok Sabha member first from 1984 to 1996. Later, he switched to state politics and became a minister in the A.K. Antony cabinet in 2001.
After having been reelected in the 2006 Assembly polls, in 2009 he returned to the Lok Sabha and was given a cabinet berth and again won his seat — Ernakulam in the 2014 General Elections.
But he was rubbed the wrong way when he was replaced in the 2019 polls and soon raised a banner of revolt, which cooled down quickly, under the expectations that he would be accommodated once again in state politics.
But when things did not turn the way he wanted once again murmurs began that he would ditch the party, which made him what he was.
Better sense prevailed after top brass Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala spoke to Thomas and to cool him down, he was given the post of working president of the state party unit.
One reason why Thomas has been accommodated is, the Congress-led UDF is fighting one of its fiercest political battles, after expectations that the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government, might rewrite electoral history in the state by becoming the first government to retain power.
With the Assembly polls likely to be announced anytime, and the top Congress brass not wanting to appear as a warring house and waste time in settling issues among its estranged leaders, Thomas was duly accommodated.
A senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity, however, expressed his unhappiness by saying that this was a curse on the state Congress party as aged leaders, who have had a long inning, fail to bow out gracefully.
“Just take a look at the way the Kerala unit of the CPI (second biggest ally in the ruling Left) decided not to give a seat to those who have contested three times. This is a lesson that the Congress party should learn, as those who are at the top, just refuse to make way,” said the Congress leader.
“There are two types of Congress leaders in Kerala, one who has a strong base and another group, which do not have any ground support but have strong support from the national top brass of the party. It is these types of leaders who refuse to make their way. It would be curtains for the Congress-led UDF if the national leadership fails to name party leaders who have a strong base as candidates in the upcoming polls and names candidates based on the criteria of affinity to them,” added the anxious leader, awaiting the list of Congress party’s Assembly candidates.
Of the 140 Assembly seats, the Congress generally contests in around 90 seats, leaving the rest to its allies. The speculation this time is if it does not name new faces in around 50 percent of the seats, then the outcome could well be a shocker for the grand old party in Kerala.
Hence, in the coming days, one shouldn’t be surprised, if the party ‘accommodates’ more number of its veterans. All eyes are on the arrival of Rahul Gandhi to the state capital to take part in a Congress rally, next week, which could well be the official launch of the Assembly election campaign.