Feud appears to be brewing within the Congress in Kerala whose leaders are openly coming out with statements for and against KPCC President V M Sudheeran, whose recent stand on the land issue embarrassed the party-led UDF government in the state.
The developments are taking place at a time when the Congress’ process for selecting candidates and seat sharing with Front partners for the May 16 assembly polls is entering a crucial stage. Though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Sudheeran have maintained that the party would face the polls “unitedly”, the KPCC chief’s intervention on certain government decisions on land assignment seems to have strained the equation of leaders in the party.
Political observers point out that Sudheeran had intervened more than the Opposition on several decisions related to exemption to or reclamation of large tracts of wetlands and paddy fields favouring private investors, forcing the government to withdraw the orders or make amendments.
Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, who was criticised over the land issue, took a swipe at Sudheeran on social media. In a veiled attack on Sudheeran, Prakash said the clever people of the state would realise the stain in the dress of those who try to fish in troubled waters by thinking that ideal politicians’ dress would suit only them.
Joining the issue, former KPCC President V Muraleedharan equated the criticism of Sudheeran to that of someone spitting on one’s own face while looking upward. “If one makes a statement on the achievements of the government, it will not get publicity in media. But when we criticise the government, it would gain good publicity,” he said while addressing a function yesterday.
He added that mistakes, if any, should be brought to the notice of the government, instead of publicly criticising it. Media reports had pointed to differences among Congress leaders, affecting seat sharing talks with Front partners IUML, Kerala Congress (M), Kerala Congress (J), Janata Dal (U) and the RSP.
Meanwhile, the district conventions as part of the UDF campaign would be held between April 4 and 18, UDF convener P P Thankachan said. A decision in this regard was taken at a UDF meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, he said. The Chief Minister and other state leaders would participate at the conventions to be held in all 14 districts, he added.