CONGRESS VICE-PRESIDENT Rahul Gandhi Wednesday met Lok Sabha MPs from Kerala to find ways to revive the party in the state in the wake of its defeat in the Assembly elections. Sources said almost all the MPs demanded reconstitution of the state Congress committee — in other words a leadership change.
While none of the MPs specifically demanded that KPCC president V M Sudheeran should be replaced, sources said their demand for a reconstitution meant removal of the present president. Rahul, sources said, asked them to spell out the way forward for the party in the state. Many MPs feel the party is in deep crisis in the state and requires immediate intervention of the high command.
Rahul had met nearly 70 leaders from Kerala last month to analyse what went wrong in the recent elections and to chart the future course. During that meeting, he had made it clear that the onus of defeat in the Assembly elections cannot be pinned on any one leader as it was a collective responsibility. He had also given a strong message against factionalism in the deeply divided state unit, saying it will not be tolerated any longer.
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The Congress in Kerala is divided in two dominant factions — the ‘A’ group headed by Oommen Chandy and the ‘I’ group led by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala. Both factions have been gunning for the ouster of Sudheeran, a Rahul appointee.
Rahul also met top leaders from Punjab to take stock of the progress in the campaign efforts. The meeting was attended by state Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh, AICC in charge of Punjab Asha Kumari, campaign committee chief Ambika Soni, CLP leader Charanjit Channi and poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
Amarinder has launched two personal public outreach programmes — Coffee with Captain and Halke wich Captain — designed by Kishor.