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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Delhi confidential: Supporters’ Choice

But a dispute over who played the key role and who gained from the move continues in the party’s faction-hit Kerala unit.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 24, 2021 3:31:27 am
V D Satheesan

The selection of V D Satheesan as the Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly, rejecting open support extended by senior leaders, including Oommen Chandy and A K Antony, has been welcomed by Congress supporters in the state. But a dispute over who played the key role and who gained from the move continues in the party’s faction-hit Kerala unit. A section of leaders, including some from the national level, claim that the move has reinforced general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal, who apparently played a key role in Satheesan’s appointment, as a power centre in the state. Many others argue that Chandy has benefited the most from the developments, as it has weakened the ‘I-group’ led by Ramesh Chennithala. The former Leader of Opposition could not even manage the support of all MLAs and MPs in his group for his claim for a chance to hold on to the post. Congress insiders in the national capital say the Kerala unit is to be watched for how the “groupism” plays out in one of the strongest units of the party in coming days.

Vaccine Demand

With close to 150 of their colleagues succumbing to Covid-19 and station masters now asking for vaccination for all in their cadre, the pressure is building on the Railways slowly. An “SMS agitation” will now take place on the last day of this month wherein every station master — there are around 30,000 of them — is set to send text messages to Chairman Railway Board, General Manager of zones, as well as the 68 Division heads, stating: “Vaccinate to keep us alive or keep us away from duty. For we (want) to live from July 1”.

Appraisal On Wait List

The government has decided that the performance appraisal reports of officers cannot be filled in time this year given the current circumstances. The Personnel ministry has communicated to states and UTs that since almost all officers are busy on Covid-19 duty, and most departments are anyway as good as closed for the time being, reporting, reviewing and accepting of performance appraisal reports of officers for 2020-21 will have to wait. The starting date has now been extended to June 1, while the date to finish the whole process has been kept at December 31.

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